Trade Show Stand Management is highly crucial for any participants. Running a stand at a trade show or exhibition is hard work and often exhausting. But all over the world, this is how commerce has to be conducted by many business sectors, so do make the best of it! Jeremy Thorn has managed exhibition-stands all over the world and offers some helpful tips.
There are probably not many people who actually ‘enjoy’ running an exhibition stand, at least not after the first half-day or so! Whether your event is a large, professionally-organised show, or just a local table-top exhibition at a village gala, you need to stay bright and alert for long hours.
It is also usually thought to be quite helpful if you can be reasonably pleasant to everyone you meet for the whole duration – and when you get back to the office, there will be all that painstaking follow-up to do. (Well, there should be, anyway. See Tip 10.)
Assuming you have done all your preparation and advance planning, here are some ideas to help make your investment in trade shows and exhibitions more productive, more profitable, and even more rewarding.
1. Never go alone!
You will probably already know very well that running a stand is a full-time job while an exhibition is on, and it should never be left unattended. Every 5 minutes that your stand is unattended, your investment in the event will not be making you money. But you must get some breaks in, over what will probably be a long day or more.
So even if you are a sole-trader, take a partner with you, a family member, a pal or even a student from the local college looking for some work experience. (I especially recommend foreign-language students and
people who can actually speak a few foreign languages, particularly if you don’t.) But check them out first for their ability to engage warmly with strangers, and make sure they read this article first and know your product range!
2. Dress appropriately
Exhibition venues can vary all the way from being perishingly cold to far too hot (especially when the venue is busy and brightly lit — as you hope it will be); they can even suffer leaks not to mention rain and wind if outside! So dress comfortably, in the vernacular of your trade by all means but, may I suggest, at least ‘one notch up’ from the majority of your likely visitors? A fabulous product display can so easily be ruined by scruffy stand-staff.
3. Get there in good time
This may seem obvious, not just in terms of getting a good parking space, setting up properly without panic, and ensuring packing materials, cables and any personal items are all out of sight before your event opens.
But if you are wise, you will also want to find out where the loos are and where you can get refreshments, and check your pitch is to your liking and properly signed and supplied. Then, be sure to make friends with the organisers, check-out who else is exhibiting, and maybe catch-up with old friends briefly who are also exhibiting (you may not have time later), if only out of courtesy.
4. Check your checklist
What checklist? The one you have carefully prepared in advance for all such events! This should include a record-book or enquiry-sheets of whom you are going to meet, their contact details, their interest in your wares and action to follow; maybe invoices if you are selling goods from your stand; notepads, pens,
sticky tape, cabling and power-point adapters; possibly a fist-aid kit for minor emergencies?; product literature, point-of-sale material and price lists; a vast stack of visiting cards – and anything else you might need.
It will be far too late to start looking for these once the event has opened and you get busy.
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