Exhibitions are like first dates
Exhibitions are like first dates
Attending exhibitions and trade shows are like first dates or job interviews. Being the exhibitor makes you that nervous guy or the interviewee and to make matter worse you are placed in that positions for the duration of the show.
Unless you have a very big ego this experience can be nerves wracking and overwhelming. Especially for first time exhibitors and staff members. Even if you are prepared you still have just a few seconds to make your best impression in a busy, noisy environment and right next to the competition before "date" has moved on. There are too many unknowns and one must be quick on their feet.
Your sales people which are doing excellent job doing their everyday duties may not be the right people for the exhibition environment.
Not everyone has the resourcefulness, improvisation skills or self awareness to lift up their game at the right moment. Some exhibitors and staff members simply don't get the concept of first impression lasts.
Quite often i take the time to observe staff members from a safe distance and watch them in horror as they chew gum, show up in scuffed shoes and dress up inappropriately. Really, they make it quite easy for their "first date" / potential client to make a decision and walk away to the warm arms of the competition.
Having said that most exhibitors want to make a positive impression. After all exhibitors attend trade shows for the purpose of socializing, making good impressions and generating good contacts in the view to follow up and continue their conversations after the show
Let's start with the positive: walking in a typical auto motive, pharmaceutical or any other vertical or horizontal trade show or exhibition. About 40 percent of exhibitors are doing the their best to insure the first date is not their last. One can see they invested time and thought in order to make their display stand inviting and creative. Someone took the time to make sure the artwork is effective and target audience suitable. The staff members are well dressed, knowledgeable and have their game plan in hand. No staff members get together in one corner of the booth with empty take away coffee cups all over the place, no bad jokes, inappropriate scratching and bored faces.
And then you have the other 60 percent. Boy oh boy where do you start? Making a long story short their display stand stinks and their staff members stinks even more. Quite often their exhibition stand is an eyesore in the shape of a dated looking shell scheme rental stand with a single poster stuck to it, graphics piling off and some generic artwork. The staff members avoid eye contact like their life depend on it or alternatively shoving into your hands some unneeded promotional material you never asked for. No one took the time or care to think about planning marketing, art work or lead generations tactics. In short everything screams i just don"t care. No second dates here. Attending exhibitions and trade shows is an expensive business but the actual cost of the display stands and exhibition stands are the least expensive investment if you plan a head. Planning is critical.
And the ugly
Right of the bat - Staff members. I could go on about unacceptable behaviour of staff members: unacceptable language, chewing gum, talking on their mobile and the very latest gazing at their smart phones. But the bottom line is one: the reason why so many exhibitors have the wrong people as staff members is simple: they the wrong people. They are not "peoples" people, have no interest in the success of the company , not knowledgeable and wanted to participate in the trade show to start with. They just don't care.
Trade shows and exhibitions are all about face to face interaction, socialising and lead generation. You could have the best exhibition stand of the show but if your staff members stink you might as well not attend at all and save your money.
In a perfect world senior management should participate and be part of the team on the floor. Their knowledge, interest in the success of the company and ability to make decisions can be a magnet to visitors and motivation to the rest of the team.
For more ideas and information about attending trade shows and exhibitions successfully contact Gill Keinan, Director of NVP Exhibits on 02 9357 3377.