How to prepare your team to trade fairs, tradeshows, exhibitions?
The keys to a successful exhibition
Trade shows, fairs and other professional events are great boosters at different levels of the company: meet many new contacts, make your products known, see what the competition is offering, increase your turnover, etc.
Bringing together numerous exhibitors and open to a large audience of experts – or at least specialists in the field – these events are designed to promote and develop exchanges between professionals in the same sector of activity in a single location – generally over a short period of time.
Why exhibit at a trade show?
These corporate events, by the fact that they bring together supply and demand in a single event, are great opportunities to be seized! Provided, as always, that you prepare your participation carefully and leave nothing to chance!
A presence at a trade show is not a tool reserved for the communication department. It is a highly relevant lever for several company departments. Of course, first and foremost the sales staff, but also the product managers, market managers, research department managers, etc., are also important. Identifying new prospects, building customer loyalty, meeting new partners, sensing market trends, opportunities to be seized or keeping abreast of the latest innovations… These are just some of the opportunities offered by participating in a trade show!
Participating in a trade fair – the key steps
Participating in a trade fair is truly a project. Above all, it is important to carefully choose the professional events to participate in according to your objectives and strategy. Then comes the time of preparation: who will participate? What communication tools will be used? What visuals? Which stand to choose?. Building a retro planning will be opportune in order to have a good visibility on the tasks to come, their organization in terms of calendar, duration, means, etc…
On the day, each collaborator present must know his role. Commercial brochures and other promotional documents must be ready. The stand should be attractive and well placed.
Once the doors of the exhibition are closed and the stand dismantled, there is a debriefing, feedback and careful follow-up in order to get the most out of the event.
Before the event: preparing the show
A salon doesn’t get ready at the last minute. Usually, it is the organization that creates the show that guides the exhibitors on their journey. Registering for a trade event as an exhibitor is usually done months in advance. Some events are draconian in their organization and do not tolerate any delays. It is therefore essential to find out about it well in advance! The earlier you register, the better the chances of getting an ideally placed and properly configured stand. First registered, first served (within the limits of everyone’s budget and possibilities, of course!).
Beforehand, it is essential to set the objectives for this event. The choice of the exhibition will be made according to them: sector of activity, theme, location, dates, possible workshops/conferences/debates, etc. The means that will be allocated must then be determined: budget, human resources, materials, etc.). Ideally, the appointment of a “trade fair” project team bringing together people from different departments (marketing, communication, sales, etc.) who will manage the project as a whole is a guarantee of success. Especially since a trade show is usually planned from one year to the next.
Once all this has been validated, it’s time to take action!
This is the essential tool for preparing a trade show! Indeed, the date and the exact place being rarely modifiable (in any case, because of the exhibitors), it is essential to start from there to carry out, retroactively, all the planning of the project “participation in such and such a show”.
Generally, the steps are as follows:
– Registration of the company to the event
– Reservation of space: the location of the stand at the show as well as its size is mainly a question of budget.
– Configuration of the stand according to the location: a crucial step to success, work with the next step!
– Reservation of furniture and decoration: the stand will be the identity of the company for the duration of the exhibition. It is therefore essential to take care of the design, the colours, the atmosphere.
– Booking of hotels and possible transport for the team that will be on the stand
– Checking the validity of the necessary identity cards/passports/visas (beware of administrative delays)
– Preparation of communication supports (brochures, visuals, company logo, signage, advertising objects, models, prototypes, business cards, company film, etc.).
– Launching communication (social networks, mailings, advertising inserts, etc.) as well as invitations
– Train and brief the team that will be on the stand
In the days leading up to the show until the day before the event, a few checks are necessary:
– Location and complete furniture
– Hotel room allocation and travel tickets
– Distribution of exhibition access badges and other vehicle stickers
– Checking cardboard boxes, brochures and other communication media
– Cardboard constitution “kit for everything”: scissors, pens, tape, staples, glue, paper, paper towels, paper towels, dishes, cleaning products, etc..
– Checking of connections on the stand
– Dress-code briefing: always in the spirit that the team present at the show represents the image of the company!
During the event
Running a booth at a trade show doesn’t stop at standing behind the counter waiting for a visitor to deign to approach! So here are a few tips for a successful trade show:
– Have your stand ready as soon as the show opens its doors.
– Go towards the visitors and welcome them warmly (be pleasant and smiling and avoid the honeyed style)
– Offer coffee and small pastries or any other local products
– Make a note of each contact made (name, contact details, company, position, recommendation to be followed after the show, etc.) on a document provided for this purpose so as to keep the customer file up to date and expand it.
– Discover the stands of other exhibitors (this can give ideas for future participation, but also allows you to keep a discreet watch on a defined sector)
– Animate or participate in the different activities of the show: conferences, debates, workshops, etc.
To remain active and dynamic until the doors of the show close (there is nothing more forbidding for a visitor to see an exhibitor folding his stand before time).
After the professional event
Once the event is over, the work doesn’t stop there. Business contacts, requests for documentation, and so on must be handled quickly. To do this, it is advisable to rely on the document filled in by the various members of the exhibition team.
A debriefing of the trade fair participation is also essential in order to take into consideration any possible mistakes and to correct them and be even better the next time!