We all make
mistakes, however, if we are aware of the pitfalls that can occur,
there is a better chance we can avoid errors which, more often than
not, can be fairly costly. The following are 10 of the most common
mistakes exhibitors make pre-show, at-show and post-show:
1. Failing to set
exhibiting goals. Goals, or the purpose for exhibiting, are the
essence of the whole tradeshow experience. Knowing what you want to
accomplish at a show will help plan every other aspect - your theme,
the booth layout and display, graphics, product displays, premiums,
literature, etc. Exhibiting goals should complement your corporate
marketing objectives and help in accomplishing them.
2. Forgetting to
read the exhibitor manual. The exhibitor manual is your complete
reference guide to every aspect of the show and your key to saving
money. Admittedly, some show management make these easier to read
than others. Albeit, everything you need to know about the show you
are participating in, should be contained in the manual - show
schedules, contractor information, registration, service order forms,
electrical service, floor plans and exhibit specifications, shipping
and freight services, housing information, advertising and promotion
Remember that the
floor price for show services is normally 10-20% higher so signing up
early will always give you a significant savings.
graphics to the last minute. Rush, change and overtime charges will
add significantly to your bottom line. Planning your graphics in
plenty of time - 6-8 weeks before showtime will be less stressful for
everyone concerned and avoid many blunders that occur under time pressures.
booth staff preparation. Enormous time, energy and money are put into
organizing show participation - display, graphics, literature,
premiums, etc. However, the people chosen to represent the entire
image of the organization are often left to fend for themselves. They
are just told to show up. This team are your ambassadors and should
be briefed beforehand - why you are exhibiting; what you are
exhibiting and what you expect from them. Exhibit staff training is
essential for a unified and professional image.
visitors' needs. Often staff members feel compelled to give the
visitor as much information as possible. They fail to ask about real
needs and interest in the product/service. They lack questioning
skills and often miss important qualifying information. Pre-show
preparation and training is the key.
6. Handing out
literature and premiums. Staff members who are unsure of what to do
in the booth environment or feel uncomfortable talking to strangers,
end up handing out literature or giveaway items just to keep
occupied. Literature acts as a barrier to conversation and chances
are, will be discarded at the first opportunity. It is vital that
people chosen to represent the organization enjoy interacting with
strangers and know what is expected of them in the booth environment.
unfamiliar with demonstrations. Many times staffers show up for duty
only to discover they are totally unfamiliar with booth
demonstrations. Communicate with your team members before the show
and ensure that demonstrators, know what is being presented, are
familiar with the equipment and how to conduct the assigned demonstrations.
the booth with company representatives. Companies often send several
representatives to major industry shows to gather competitive and
general/specific industry information. These people feel compelled to
gather at the company booth not only outnumbering visitors, but also
monopolizing staffer time and restricting visitor interaction. Have
strict rules regarding employees visiting the show and insist
staffers not scheduled for booth duty stay away until their assigned
time. Company executives are often the worst offenders. Assign
specific tasks to avoid them fumbling around the booth .
9. Ignoring lead
follow-up. Show leads often take second place to other management
activities that occur after being out of the office for several days.
The longer leads are left unattended, the colder and more mediocre
they become. Prior to the show, establish how leads will be handled,
set timelines for follow-up and make sales representatives
accountable for leads given to them.
show evaluation. The more you know and understand about your
performance at shows, the more improvement and fine-tuning can take
place for future shows. No two shows are alike. Each has it own
idiosyncrasies and obstacles. There is always room for improvement.
Invest the time with your staff immediately after each show to
evaluate your performance. It pays enormous dividends.