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Exhibitors' How-To Guide
How to exhibit at a show
Exhibitors' How-To Guide - 19/09/2016
How to Exhibit at a Show
Exhibitions are a fantastic way to showcase your products or services to a captive, vetted audience. Make sure you and your team are doing everything in your power to get those leads or make those sales. Here at the HAC we put on dozens of exhibitions every year and we've learnt a thing or two about how to run a stand. Have a read of our guide and see which of our ideas will help you maximise your opportunity.
Before the show
The position of your stand is really important. Check out the layout of the show - you should be able to get a floorplan from the organisers - and try to picture the flow of visitors. Decide whether you want a corner, side or island position. It's also worth finding out who your neighbours are going to be. Too many competitiors together might mean visitors get a bit overwhelmed and don't stop at many stands, but companies that complement each other could refer potential clients between them.
Don't rest on your laurels and expect the exhibition to do all the work of attracting exhibitors to the show. Make sure you communicate with all of your past, present and would-be-clients and tell them you'll be there. Try to reach out to new contacts through social media to advertise your presence, perhaps by offering an incentive to come and find you on your stand.
Dressing your space
Why are you exhibiting? What's your goal? Make sure you have a clear message and that this is communicated effectively through your stand graphics. Visitors need to know who you are and what you do at a glance. Create a seating area so weary clients-to-be can chat in comfort and provide drinks and snacks if you can.
If possible, make sure you have enough people to always have at least two members of staff on the stand at any one time and remember you''ll need to cover breaks. Working on an exhibition stand is exhausting, but you can't afford to have even a few minutes with an un-manned stand or a bored member of staff checking their phone and letting a potential client walk by. Ensure anyone manning the stand understands what they are there to do and provide full training so they can perform confidently. Keep checking in with your team throughout the show to see how things are going just in case you need to adjust your approach.
Having an interactive element to your stand will give you a chance to engage with visitors without having to go straight in with a 'hard sell'.
Do something attention grabbing! Hire a photobooth, a hook a duck stall, a candy floss machine - something that will stop people in their tracks. Even if you don't have the space or budget to do anything fancy, you could collect business cards on your stand and have a prize draw to win a bottle of champagne, or get people to enter by taking pictures of themselves on your stand and posting them on social media. If you're planning on doing anything particularly exciting, make sure you get loads of pictures and let the industry press know your plans.
If there are networking events, an exhibitor party, seminars - go to them. And remember, you might meet your next big client queuing up to go to the loo, so keep friendly and 'tuned in' at all times. Make sure your generous in giving your time to others as well. That person who appears to be wasting your time drinking your free coffee on the stand could just happen to know someone who could prove very useful to you.
Contact everyone you met at the show and pursue each lead until you can categorically say one way or the other whether or not you will end up doing business with them. It's also worth reaching out to all others you met at the show, just to cement your new contact.
Exhibitions at the HAC
The Prince Consort Rooms is our largest space and we regularly hold exhibitions in it. With its vaulted, glass ceiling and 627m2 square metred floor space, it can comfortably host up to 50 stands. We always work closely with organisers and exhibitors alike to make sure the show is as successful as it can be. if you have any questions about exhibitions at the HAC, please call our Venue Team on 020 7382 1533.