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How to get the most out of your stand at an exhibition

Starting a conversation with a total stranger passing your stand at a trade show or exhibition requires skill. A simple hello or good morning is not enough to make people stop and take a look. All too often, they will respond with a similar greeting and hurry on, especially if they have specific aims in mind such as finding a specific stand, or hunting down refreshments. Exhibitions can, after all, be extremely tiring and exhausting.

Good promotional and event staff know just how to capture the attention of these visitors. The right approach can be extremely successful, but it does require a lot of preparation.

Make sure that all staff are fully aware of your product ranges and services. Every member of staff should be conversant with all the basic details, and know where to go to get more information when requested. This is just as important for staff hired for the event as it is for your full time permanent staff.

They should also be aware of the type of person you are trying to attract to the stand. Are you seeking new customers? Do you want to actually make sales during the event? Or is it a matter of arousing interest or capturing data? Are you targeting particular sections of the community or is it mass market?

Sampling your products

This is undoubtedly one of the best ways to develop a sales pitch and get people talking. Almost everyone will stop and talk if you have something free to offer them! Even if they cannot try something immediately such as a bar of soap, giving a little sample and flyer to take away means that they are likely to try it later. Best of all is having samples available to try on the spot. Tasting food and drink is a great way to get feedback, ask questions and provide information such as special ingredients and what makes it different to any other product. Once people have tasted something, they are more likely to buy it. Tasting a sample takes away the risk factor.

Have an interesting visual display

Make sure your stand looks attractive and interactive wherever possible. Visitors need to be encouraged to be curious about your business. Have products, prototypes, videos of your services available. It all helps to strike up conversations since staff can ask ‘What do you think of this demonstration?’ Does this video presentation make you feel excited about our new service? Would you like to try this?

Use open ended questions

Wherever possible always use open ended questions. These are questions that encourage lots of different answers and stimulate conversation. Typical questions could include ‘What brought you to this trade show?’, “How helpful has the show been in providing what you are seeking?’ Think too about questions that allow you to present solutions to a problem such as ‘Are you having trouble growing potted plants outdoors or indoors?’ Their answers easily lead on to an opportunity to ask ‘Do you know about our products or services?’ “We’ve just introduced a new product/service – let me show you’.

Body Language

Above all promotional staff need to think about their own body language. Always smile, even at the end of a long day. Never look bored, or too busy talking to colleagues to pay attention to visitors. Don’t just shove brochures into people’s hands, take the time to talk and explain the business and its range. Make eye contact with visitors. Show interest in what they are saying and focus on them, rather than looking around at the next person coming along.