To help you plan and organize your efforts for exhibiting, here are some recommended course of actions. “The Six P’s”
Project Your Costs. Budgeting for the event should cover everything you can think of -and then some! Be aware that in most cases, your booth rental and fees associated with exhibiting (electric, fixtures, etc.) likely will oblige you to pay in full, in advance.
Plan Your Booth. What you’ll need will binge on where you’ll be exhibiting in terms of distance, the type and sophistication of the event and the audience, the lines you’ll be selling, and your experience as an exhibitor. You can spend several thousand dollars for a lightweight, portable professionally manufactured booth complete with knock-out graphics, lighting, and a coterie of whistles and bells from video monitors to live models. You can, of course, build your own displays, which in time will tell you your subsequent needs.
Position Your Company. Who your competition will be at the event usually can be ascertained well in advance by asking the event sponsor about companies who’ve exhibited at the venue in the past as well as those signed up for the next round. Learn about what the competition does at the event. Whether you’ll be doing the same things as they do or working hard to differentiate yourself from them are matters best determined from your research, not conjecture. First impressions are indeed lasting ones at events and passers-by who ignore your booth or stop only for a few seconds and then move on often are lost for the duration of the event and probably beyond. If you don’t get to stop the attendees at your booth or table, nor meet them, nor tell them your story, nor get their “vitals” (contact names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses), your investment and efforts all will be for naught.
Present Your Company and Its Story. Make certain you can explain to attendees who you are, what you can do for them, and why they should consider buying from your company And then make sure every staff member in your booth or at your table can recite it. Strongly recommended for first-time exhibitors is a healthy role-playing session with your team before the event or in the mirror. What you’ll wear working your exhibit also speaks volume about your professionalism. Given the business you’re in, why you wear anything other than decorated apparel showing your company’s name and logo.
Participate in the Event. More than simply exhibiting your wares, endeavor to become a participant in the industry or group at hand by involving your company in sponsorship, seminars and workshops, on planning committees and advisory boards, and other avenues of value added effort. It’s a low-cost way to demonstrate your company’s leadership, accelerate your ability to network with key companies and individuals on the scene, and earn added recognition for your company and your product lines.
Promote Your Company‘s Exhibit. Promote the fact that you’ll be exhibiting in advance of the event via e-mail or direct mail to registrants and include an incentive to visit your booth or table to boost your traffic. Promote your company after the event with follow-up phone calls and e-mails, especially to those who visited your booth or table. Keep notes during the event as to who asked about what, who expressed an interest in this or that, and personal information gleaned by chatting with them.