How To Get More Enquiries From Exhibitions
Exhibitions are a great way for businesses to connect with their clients and to meet new ones. This week I went to one of the biggest in our industry, Professional Beauty London 2015 at London ExCel.
It was a great show with hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of visitors. However so many people would have come away scratching their heads and wondering what could have been.
Had they read this blog first then they’d have known how to get more enquiries from exhibitions such as this one!
5 Things You Absolutely Must Do
1. Define your objectives before the show
Are you there to try and sell off the stand? Make new contacts? Meet decision makers? You should have a strategy worked out in advance and you (and your team) must stick to it!
Sounds obvious, right? Well tell that to some of the people on the stands this past weekend. I’m not going to buy anything from you if you can’t muster up a smile for me!
3. Have a way of collecting people’s details
Ideally you want to be collecting the contact information for everyone who comes to your stand. You don’t need eye colour and waist measurements, but name and email addresses are a must. Of course most people will want something in exchange for those details so you should be prepared for this. The promise of an electronic information pack, individually tailored quotation or even entry into a competition should do the trick.
4. Give stuff away for free
It doesn’t have to be expensive. Just a flyer or Quality Street chocolate will do! Anything that makes people more likely to stop (however briefly) at your stand is a winner. They have lots of choice and you have lots of competition so make yourself stand out. If you hand somebody a flyer their natural reaction is to accept it. This gives you the opportunity to speak to them. Say something engaging and you’re up and running.
5. Make yourself and your stand look different to everyone else
I’ve said before that the ultimate marketing sin is being boring – and the same applies here! With so many other people in attendance you’ve got to stand out. Make your stand look different to everyone else and you’ll automatically attract more people. The same is true of the outfits that you and your team wear. Unless you’re doing treatments then there is no excuse for wearing a boring single coloured tunic – even if that is what you wear on a daily basis. You want people to remember you – by any means necessary!
And 5 Things You Absolutely Must Not Do
1. Stand behind your table
The cardinal sin of exhibitions! In fact unless absolutely necessary I’d not have a table at all – it simple becomes a barrier between you and your clients. You want to be standing out the front and grabbing people as they come past. Not physically of course! If you are relying on people to approach you as opposed to the other way around then you’re simply not going to have as successful a show.
2. Not talk to everyone who walks past your stand
Following on from the previous point you’ve also got to speak to everyone who walks past. Yes you’re going to get some knock backs, yes some people will ignore you – heck – some may even be rude to you. But most people will speak back. That’s where conversation begins and the magic can then happen.
3. Not know your product or service
You – and your staff – need to know your product or service. Well enough that you can confidently respond to any question that you might be asked over the course of the show. The good news is that most people will broadly ask the same questions or have the same problems. Compile in advance your ten most asked questions and ensure everyone is briefed on the appropriate responses. Some people will ask you questions just to test you; your responses will ensure you come across as competent.
4. Eat or use your mobile phone!
A couple of my pet hates here! Nothing says ‘I don’t care about you, Ms. Client’ that tucking into your sandwiches on your stand or looking face down into your iPhone. Seems obvious I know but so many people are guilty of this at every show I attend! Now I’m not saying don’t eat all day – do! Just take a 5 minute fresh air break from your stand and eat outside. Oh, and don’t come back in smelling of stale Marlboro Lights, either!
5. Not asking the right questions
Don’t assume you know what your client wants or that they want the same as the last person you spoke with. We find out about our client’s needs, wants and problems by asking them. Then we can make recommendations which are suitable based on this information. You must also make sure that you ask for the sale when the time comes. So many sales aren’t made because people don’t ask for fear of rejection. You must get over this to be successful at exhibitions. And remember if someone says no then they aren’t rejecting you, they’re just rejecting your offer. There will be someone else along in a moment who will be interested.
So, Should You Be Exhibiting At Exhibitions?
There are a huge number of different types of shows, exhibitions and conferences going on up and down the country every weekend.
There is a good chance that some of your ideal clients will be there. Quite possibly hundreds of them or more!
So you should certainly consider exhibiting at such an event, especially if you never have before. That could be a large exhibition or maybe if you’re a make up artist or hair dresser then a simple local wedding show may be a good place to start.
After all, what’s the worst that could happen? If it doesn’t work then you know you’ve tried it and you can move on.
And if you do, consider these golden rules first and try and have some fun whilst you do it!