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The overwhelming benefit of any exhibition is you get an invaluable level of ‘face time’ with potential clients, giving your team a huge opportunity to make a favourable impression – and a considerable number of these potential clients are likely to be discovering your business for the first time. If you find the right exhibition for your business these potential new leads can really help to build your brand’s reputation as a leader in its field.
Another good reason to exhibit is the chance to see what your competitors are doing and outshine them with a carefully developed combination of pre-show advertising, eye-catching stand design, printed literature, promotional materials and conscientious follow-up after the show. This is your opportunity to present to your clients why your product is superior in terms of performance, pricing or service.
Talking to an external exhibition design company, such as Accent, can really help you develop a winning game plan. Sometimes you know your products or services so well that you’re too close to see them through anything but rose-tinted spectacles. A professional design company will look at what you and your competitors offer and put together the right strategy and marketing materials that truly sell the benefits of your business whilst being in keeping with your desired budget.
Accent understands the power of an exhibition stand and its context of use. For example, your stand has approximately 10 seconds to sell your business to potential clients. If potential clients walking past can’t tell what you do, almost instantly, why would they bother to stop and find out more?
Making yourself memorable
Right, you’ve done it. People are stopping at your stand. What now? Well, you obviously have trained staff on hand to talk to all the potential new clients but why would they remember what you’ve told them about your business once they’ve left your stand and moved on?
You need to support your eye catching stand design and knowledgeable staff with printed literature that clients can take away with them. Also, combine that with a striking business card so that your potential new lead has good reason to get back in contact with you. Remember, the visitors you meet may not be the ultimate decision maker for the business they represent. Therefore it’s important that, long after the event, all materials produced can still sell your business when sat on a boardroom table alongside those of your competitors.
This is where a professional design company can step in and help you again. They will use their design skills and experience to produce materials that your team can give to new clients with pride. They can also offer to support your pre-exhibition promotional activities with both press & digital advertising directing potential exhibition visitors to your stand.
When it’s over and done with
You’ve worked hard and talked to lots of potential new clients so now all you have to do is sit back and watch the orders and enquiries flood in, right? Wrong! Now the real work really begins.
The exhibition may have passed but that doesn’t mean it’s over. A good place to start is to prepare a standard letter in advance of the event, thanking attendees for visiting your stand and assuring them that a named individual will contact them within an agreed timescale. These letters or emails could be sent out at the end of the exhibition to all of your stand visitors. You could also use this opportunity to direct any new contacts to your website or provide them with a brochure in their desired format.
Grading the contacts you’ve made on the stand (for example, ‘Hot’, ‘Warm’ or ‘Cold’) will help you decide which leads to follow up first. It may be that ‘Hot’ leads don’t hang around long to make a decision so it would be advantageous for someone to follow up with them in-depth within a few days of the event. You may decide that other levels of lead may require a different approach but, regardless of grading, an acknowledgement of your meeting at the exhibition should be sent to each new contact as a minimum within those early post-event days.
And remember, keep trying to make contact with your leads. Sometimes it can take many phone calls or emails before a meeting or an appropriate ‘next step’ is agreed with a potential new client.
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Having over 20 years experience in the print & creative industries, Sally is our super organised Print Production Manager and ‘Queen of Numbers’.