Maximising Your Success at Exhibitions: Essential Tips for Exhibitors & Attendees

By Bob Morrell on June 30, 2023

Trade shows and exhibitions are a massive market, with thousands of events taking place annually around the world. As an exhibitor or attendee, it’s important to approach these events strategically to make the most out of your time, effort, and investment. In our recent podcast, we explored some exhibition dos and don’ts – here are some of those valuable tips to help.

Planning is Key

Whether you’re an exhibitor or attendee, don’t underestimate the importance of planning. Exhibitions can be overwhelming due to their size, so take the time to study the event’s layout and create a strategic plan of which stands or areas you want to see. Set clear objectives for your attendance, such as finding new suppliers, assessing competition, or exploring industry trends. Limit your objectives to three to ensure you stay focused and you make effective use of your visit.

Make the Most of Your Time

Don’t just wander aimlessly through the exhibition, plan your route. If well organised, you can do everything you need to do within a short timeframe – it doesn’t need to take all day! Remember to make notes during your chats with exhibitors. Also, consider the more obvious, practical aspects of attending, such as carrying water, wearing comfortable shoes, and planning where you’re going to eat in advance to maximise those energy levels.

Engaging as an Exhibitor

As an exhibitor, make your presence count. Ensure your stand’s design encourages a flow of traffic and don’t skimp on lighting! Avoid the common mistake of sitting behind your stand scrolling through your phone. Engage with passers-by, as you’re essentially creating a targeted marketing opportunity. A compelling opening line can capture attention and initiate conversations. Carry sufficient literature, brochures, and business cards, and be prepared to provide information, answer questions, and follow up after the event.

Staffing for Success

Choose your stand’s staff wisely and have a minimum of two people available. Ensure they possess sales and people skills and can effectively engage with visitors. Work with them to develop a demonstration or role-play to showcase your product or service. Ask them to take photos of your competitors’ well-designed stands for inspiration for next time. Avoid having too many people on the stand, which can lead to boredom or even staff members ‘hiding’! Provide necessary amenities for your staff, particularly charging points.

Effective Marketing Before, During, and After

As an exhibitor, you need to focus on a comprehensive marketing strategy. Pre-show marketing efforts should extend beyond simple ads; reach out to customers via phone, direct mail, or email, and offer different incentives though each channel to gauge their effectiveness. Collect business cards or social media handles for post-show follow ups and maintain contact with potential leads. Consider organising complimentary events alongside the exhibition to keep attendees engaged and build relationships.

Location Matters

For exhibitors, there’s something to be said for securing a stand near the entrance. Visitors are often more open and engaged at the beginning of their journey. Being near the entrance ensures better visibility and the potential to make a lasting first impression.

Booze and Balance

While networking and socialising are important aspects of exhibitions and trade shows, we all know it’s crucial to maintain balance. Try to avoid excessive alcohol consumption if you can, as there’s nothing worse than trying to be productive and engaged on an exhibition stand the next day when you’re secretly feeling drained and hungover! Instead, try to focus on using social events for professional discussions and making useful business connections.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be well-equipped to make the most out of your next exhibition or forward this blog on to somebody you know whose exhibitions could do with a bit of a rethink!

To listen to the full podcast episode from Bob & Jeremy’s Conflab, click here: or subscribe now on your favourite podcast platform and download the latest episode today!

For even more ideas and inspiration, and to be the first to know about future podcast episodes, follow @bob_and_jeremys_conflab and @reality_training on Instagram.