A friend of mine has a small business with her husband. They want this business to grow so that they can both quit their jobs and have their business provide for them financially. If you’re a small business perhaps this is the way you started. Maybe, like us, you jumped straight in head first and had to quickly work out how to swim so you don’t sink. Perhaps you work in marketing, but you’ve been approached to help small businesses like this grow. We all want success, and we want to do the “right” things in order to achieve it. So, my friend and her husband decided to exhibit at a local event to boost their sales get their brand out there. They have a fantastic product and it seemed like a great idea. The problem? They didn’t consult anyone prior to exhibiting.
They decided that it would be too expensive to consult someone, and much easier to organise something low key themselves. They organised some folding tables, some cloth to cover the tables, and a trellis to hang some items. It wasn’t the most glamorous of exhibition spaces, but it was what they thought they could afford. They were really excited to be exhibiting for the first time. The problem? They didn’t sell anything. And they had little to no interest in their products.
Now remember I said they sold good products? I bet right now you’re thinking “well the products can’t be that good, can they?!”. The products are good, the issue isn’t what they were selling, it’s how they were selling. If you’ve worked in sales before you’ll remember being taught that you can sell anything, in fact the best sales people can sell anything. At the end of every sales job interview I’ve had I’ve been asked to sell the interviewer an item they already own, think Jordan Belfort at the end of Wolf of Wall Street. This further demonstrates that good sales people (i.e. exhibition staff) can sell anything. I can hear you asking, was that the problem? They just didn’t sell their product well? Potentially. However, selling to a crowd is exactly the same as the adage about people who need help. Before they can be helped for a problem, they must want the help. So if people aren’t stopping at your exhibition space it would be very difficult to sell to them. They haven’t expressed any interest in your product. And that is our first problem in this scenario…
Right Exhibition, Right Time Leads to Great Success
If this is resonating with you, event and exhibition experts can help. It doesn’t have to be a stressful experience every time you exhibit. If it hasn’t happened to you, congratulations! You have succeeded in the first step of exhibiting. That first step is to attend the right exhibition show. To determine which show you need to exhibit at, you need to identify your target audience who would be interested in your products. There is no point in exhibiting if you haven’t identified who wants to purchase your product. Some products are versatile, and you can exhibit at most trade shows and exhibitions.
For most products, there are specific shows you should exhibit at. If the show you’re attending does not appeal to your target audience, expect to make no sales. There are times where your product may complement the products that are usually offered at a particular exhibition or trade show. In this instance, you will find you have great sales results. This is because your product will be unexpected, but also not so far removed from the products being offered that buyers are affronted when they see your product.
To understand how your product would be received takes research. Lots and lots of research. This removes the guesswork from exhibiting, because you know that you have researched the products that will be on display at the exhibition and also the other exhibitors. Exhibiting is a science, and getting the formula right is crucial to your success. At the beginning of the process the right formula consists of attending the right exhibition where your target audience are expected to attend, with the right exhibition stand to display your products.
“If I attend the right exhibition, why is it important what my exhibition stand looks like?”
The simple answer to this is that first impressions count. In the exhibition industry, all impressions count, as demonstrated by our guide on increasing your exhibition sales and the role that impressions play, but the first impression is crucial. I wrote in the last blog about my experiences at a recent exhibition I attended. My first impressions of some of the exhibitors was that they weren’t serious about exhibiting or their product, and they thought they were at a local market. I’m not sure about you, but when I attend our local market I have a great day out with my young daughter, we get some delicious food and occasionally I can buy some great handmade products for her. In no way do I spend copious amounts of money on great products, to be honest I don’t often think there will be the expensive great products we’re discussing, so I’m not in the mood to purchase them.
The same thing translates if I attend an exhibition and I see people who haven’t put thought into their appearance. Folding tables with some cloth to cover the fact that they are clearly folding tables may be ok at the local market, however even this landscape is changing. The best exhibitors at the local market have started stepping up their game, they’re getting custom displays made. It helps them stand out. The psychology behind this idea is that if an exhibitor cares about their exhibition appearance then they must really care about their products. This affects the way that attendees will choose the exhibitor to purchase from. If your exhibition space isn’t the latest and greatest trend that’s ok, as long as it is a great design and functional. Attendees all have different tastes, but as a general consensus, folding tables are not in the same league as a well-designed and functional exhibition space.
You are in control of your exhibition destiny
At all times in your exhibition journey, you are in control of your exhibition success. That doesn’t mean that you make decisions on your own without professional consultation. It means that an exhibition expert can create a design, you can agree or disagree with the design and change the aspects that you don’t like. You can add other aspects that you like. You can work with exhibition experts to compile who your exhibition target audience are, where are they likely to attend and in what volume so that you have the greatest chance of maximising sales from your exhibiting. Exhibition experts can perfect the first half of the successful exhibition formula, they can guide you and inform you so that you feel completely in control of your exhibition destiny. Exhibiting does cost a lot of money, but when you feel in control of your exhibition appearance spending, you make better choices and maximise your sales.