The problem with exhibiting generally is that doing it well is not as easy as it looks. A friend of mine once said “its common sense but not common practice”! The other drawback when considering whether to attend an exhibitor day is the fact that you don’t know what you don’t know. Repeatedly I find that the exhibitors who attend these How To days are usually the ones who are pretty good anyway. It’s the ones who never attend that would so desperately benefit from them.

For those unfamiliar with them, they are usually called Exhibitor Days or Exhibitor Seminars and the overall objective is to help exhibitors understand more about the show in question and then how to maximise your participation at said event. They are offered by most good organisers, many independents, industry trade bodies and – well me! Having worked in this industry for approaching 25 years it still impresses me how you can attend any show (trade or consumer) and see two exhibitors (often direct competitors selling similar products), separated by no more than two metres of carpet and see one stand very empty and quiet whilst the other bristling with customers and selling like crazy. The fact is they both paid the same amount of money to be there. One will return having had a great show the other write it off as a waste of money and time.

The agenda should address the actions and thoughts you should have before during and after the event. Some will also update you with the latest marketing, the PR opportunities that exist and how you can further improve your profile in advance of the event. Spending an extra £100 on a more exotic floral display will not guarantee increased revenues whereas time spent inviting the right visitors to your stand will. The biggest mistake exhibitors make is to rely completely on the organisers. You can do your bit and attract and invite your potential clients. Some exhibitors are reluctant to invite their key prospects in case they meet their competitors at the show. Well the facts are that in all likelihood your key prospects will visit the event anyway. I suggest that it is far better for them to attend with an invitation from you than to come armed with one from your competitor. Often there will be advice about types of stands and how to dress and build your stand. Whilst it may be dreaded, they will typically stress the need to read your exhibitor manual full of tips and advice and ways to save money on everything from electrics to furniture and passes, tickets and other good stuff. Dull as you like but crucial to maximise your attendance. It is then common to understand the behaviours that encourage visitor interaction and those that repel them. Yes common sense stuff but the stuff that makes a genuine difference to how busy you are and how successful you will be. A figure is bandied around the trade that suggests that 85% of your success is down to your people on the days of the event. Finally post event actions that will help deliver a better return on your investment. Sounds like good stuff? It is!