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5 mistakes people make when participating in an exhibition…

Participating in an exhibition is a great way to generate leads and attract customers. A professional stand combined with a good preparation allows you to make contact with dozens of leads, which are looking for your product or service. It will take a lot of effort though. Will you participate in a trade show soon? Don’t make these 5 mistakes!

Participate in the same exhibitions all the time

Maybe you have had lots of success on the same exhibition for many years, but that shouldn’t prevent you from trying something else. Perhaps you can promote a new product to a different audience? Or you participate in moderate exhibitions and it is time for something else? Continue develop and renew your exhibition strategy to maximize your trade show performance!

Information overload

Something we see happening with a lot of exhibition participants: They give too much information. It is good to be enthusiastic but a stand is no department store. You should formulate a clear message that will attract attention. A decision to stop and talk to you is made in a split second, so be clear about what you have to offer and why people should enter your exhibition stand. Don’t try to satisfy everyone!

Bad planning

When you decide to participate in an exhibition it might seem far away, but days fly by quickly though. You should make an extensive, realistic planning and a comprehensive checklist to ensure you got everything ready in time. A professional stand is essential for a good first impression and you want to have your stand ready in time. Even if your exhibition stand is ready in time, you wish to use your valuable time to its fullest. You should make a clear marketing plan describing your goals for every target group and your approach. Make sure to send out invitations to visit your stand and communicate your presence on social media and other publications.

Only have sales people on the stand

The success of your exhibition participation is determined by communication rather than selling. In general visitors come to an exhibition to orientate, not to buy so it’s all about getting leads. Considering that you should create a team of people with good communication skills and enthusiasm who are able to keep a conversation going. And for the more serious or technical questions have one or more people on the stand that know your products/services inside out. And don’t forget that working one or several days in a stand takes a lot of energy. Who has the capacity and remains fresh and motivated? Those are the ones that can make a difference.

Not qualifying leads

The worst thing you can do is forwarding your leads straight to the Sales department. You should make as many notes as possible. Use your Smartphone, the free program Evernote or just an old school lead form. Take a picture of the business card or attach it to the lead form and note everything you can remember about the conversation. You might also use a qualification system for leads. People you definitely wish to talk to again, will get the number 1; other people, you expect only little of, will get a 3. In Evernote you might, if desired, apply tagging, allowing you to filter and contact all number 1 leads afterwards. In combination with your notes your sales team will have plenty of starting points for a good follow-up.

Participating in an exhibition remains an extremely valuable way to make contact with potential customers. Just being there isn’t enough. You will have to work hard to make contact with the right prospects; you will have to follow-up your leads afterwards and, above all, enjoy your presence there. And don’t forget, when the show is over, evaluate within a few weeks so everything is still fresh, and use that to improve for the next show!