Statistics show too many SMEs let exhibitions pass them by

This is a guest post from Rebecca at Portfolio Displays

Staggering statistics have revealed that many of the UK’s SMEs are falling by the wayside and letting the opportunities presented at exhibitions and trade shows pass them by. It is estimated that around 80% of the leads generated at trade fairs and other industry events are not followed up on, whilst 65% of the specially printed literature created for the events is discarded at the end of the day.

Around one fifth of the UK’s exhibition participants don’t even track the ROI on their digitally printed banners. The figures demonstrate that many of the smaller businesses in the UK are not capitalising on the exhibition season; these important steps demonstrate how best to take advantage of these high-profile events and use them to boost publicity, awareness and more importantly company profits.
  1. The promotional taskforce should begin not on the morning of the exhibition, but weeks in advance. Identifying the target audience and contacting them informing them of the event beforehand is crucial; the more interested parties are aware of the event, the more chance there is of drumming up plenty of enquiries.
  2. The organisation should also identify personal targets and responsibilities for all the staff members who will be manning the exhibition displays and stands. Setting personal targets for each member of staff is a great way of motivating them to hit higher targets and attract more leads; having a stand manager also helps to monitor progress throughout the day.
  3. All staff should be briefed before the show opens, taking advantage of each staff member’s unique qualities; those particularly interested in technology should be giving demonstrations and using tablet display stands to show videos, whilst those with the customer facing experience can network and speak to the relevant people passing by.
  4. With well-trained staff and a coherent method statement in place for the exhibition, the next step is to ensure high-quality materials. Digitally printed Foamex displays and banners with eye-catching designs draw in the crowds, whilst supplementary leaflets, flyers and business cards ensure that everyone leaves the stand with something to consult later.
  5. Depending on the type of exhibition, it is likely that there will be a lull in visitor numbers at some point during the day; use this time to ensure the display area is immaculate, and consider making changes in accordance with visitor reactions.
  6. Take a walk round the exhibition and chat to other suppliers and network that way. You never know who may be exhibiting next door to you and referral business can be very powerful.
  7. If many visitors take leaflets but did not stop to engage with sales staff, encourage the team to ask open questions and attract more visitors. If there are still masses of promotional leaflets and flyers lying around, consider placing them somewhere more accessible, or having staff hand them out personally.
  8. And remember to smile and be polite, no one likes a pushy salesman. Try to be polite and attract the crowds to you.
Taking these basic steps and assessing progress at every opportunity is a great way to track where the business is succeeding during exhibition season. The simplest actions of training staff and ensuring high quality materials are distributed can go a long way to ensuring a profitable event.

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