Lessons for Beginners on an Exhibition Floor
Some good advice for newcomers to the industry – or those taking over the management of their company or organisation’s exhibition stands.
Get padding for your stand. Pay the extra and skimp elsewhere. Why? Your feet. Your colleagues’ feet. Your clients and potential clients’ feet.
It’s hard to have a meaningful conversation when your feet hurt. As one of exhibitor noted, “ Without padding, my feet and lower back starts hurting the afternoon of Day One. With padding, the afternoon of Day Three.”
Never, ever, ever wear brand-new shoes under any circumstances. It’s one of those mistakes you make once.
Comfortable shoes are a must. It doesn’t matter if the comfy shoes are ugly.
What matters is that the shoes are supportive. If someone is noticing your ugly shoes more than the conversation you are having, you have far bigger problems.
Freight is a pain. Make sure you have the phone numbers for live human beings for your trucking company on the weekends – or anytime really.
Be aware if the company you are using utilises a consolidator – in other words, takes your shipment and puts it together with other shipments going to a particular city – and get a contact name and phone number for that company, too.
Receiving your crates/boxes/shipment during move-in is directly proportional to the amount of time you need it to set up.
Inevitably, the first, most important piece that holds the critical things like flooring, carpeting, or hanging sign will be the last delivered.
Arrive the first day of move-in to have time to take care of details.
If you finish setting up early, great. If you don’t, then you have time to deal with whatever challenges come your way.
Think about advance warehouse shipments. That way, when you get to your stand, your stuff is already there.
Conversely, during move-out, if you book an early flight out, your empties will be the last to arrive for the entire show.
Understand what a Target Move-In or Move-Out Time is. Hint: It’s not the time your truck should show up to the marshaling yard.
Move it back several hours. If you are not sure, ask the General Contractor. They have very friendly helpful people who will walk you through the process.
Plus, they won’t make you feel like an idiot for asking.
Plan on the team staying until the bitter end of the exhibition. Never leave just one person. While we are at it, never tear down early. Why? Several reasons:
a) It’s rude to the attendees who are still walking the show floor – all five of them sometimes.
b) One of those five attendees walking around at the end of the show could be that all-important potential client that makes you look like a rock star when you close them, because your competition has already left. Trust me. I’ve seen it multiple times, in multiple countries.
c) It reflects badly on your company. Your exhibit space is a satellite of your office. If you’re out early, what kind of image does that give potential (and current) clients?
d) It is rude to your neighbors.
e) You’ve made a several-thousand-dollar investment in booth space, display, hotel, transportation and the rest. Use it to the penny!
f) Your company may lose priority points, space, be fined or all of the above for early tear-down.
Exhibitor education is cool. There are lots of new things to learn that can make your company stand out and save money.
Show Management wants you to be successful – that’s why they provide it. Don’t listen to the dinosaurs that say it’s a waste of time.
Extra bonus if education is offered long before the show. Go. Seriously – this is a smart investment in your exhibiting success.
Follow up on your leads within two weeks of the show closing. Have a plan in place before you hit the road.
You’ve spent all this money and resources, so not following up in a timely fashion is a waste of all of it.
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