Morag Shea

How to make the most out of an exhibition.

Exhibition season is upon us here at Zenopa with Animal Health attending BSAVA Congress next week, and our consumer and dental teams will be involved in the Clinical Pharmacy Congress, and The Dentistry Show in May. With so many coming up, and with many years’ experience within the recruiting industry, we have become a bit of a dab hand when it comes to getting organised and attending these things.

For those new to the exhibiting world, we have put together a little guide to ensure that you get the most out of events and exhibitions:

“There are three different stages when getting organised for an exhibition or event. Find out how to make the most out of your day with our guide to Exhibiting and events. “

Fail to plan then plan to fail:

There are three different stages when getting organised for an exhibition or event: before, during and after. Each stage needs thought and planning, as this will be the difference between a good day and a bad one.

Before the Exhibition:

Things that you can think about in the lead up to the big day include:

The cost

There is no point in trying to hide it, exhibitions are costly, so it is important before even signing up to think if the money forked will be money well spent. By looking at the event website will be able to find out more about the event itself, who has signed up already, and what the exhibition will entail. From this you can make an informed decision to signing up or not.

Setting Objectives

You have decided that it is worth attending the event. Now t is important to think about why you are attending. General reasons for this include:

o   To create brand awareness: raising your company profile and being seen within the industry.

o   Become recognised: Positioning yourself as the experts within your industry so that other businesses know who to turn to when they are looking for a solution.

o   Get Business: Exhibitions are a great way for you to approach new clients and business partners on mass and provide good networking opportunities to start building new working partnerships that will benefit your company.

By deciding on achievable and realistic objectives and goals, and sharing these with the rest of the team, you can work on a strategy on how you will achieve them as a team. If you have more than one objective, you can then look at putting these into a priority order.

 Ideas for the day

What is going to attract people to your stand?  Is there a new product that you would like to exclusively launch? Are you going to offer takeaways or packs for people to take with them? How will your stand represent your business - would you like a professional look or can you go a bit more ‘out there’?  will you need a screen or will banners be enough?  Will you have a competition running? These are some of the things to consider but remember to not get to carried away as this may lead to a confusing message to your target audience.

Budget

Drawing up a budget will help you to manage your spending better and not let the costs run away with you.  You may find it easier to have a project coordinator who takes ownership and when needed can delegate out tasks and sign off any spend.

Let people know you are attending

Let everyone know that you will be at the event, and invite them to come and see you on your stand through email campaigns, social media, blogs, press releases and through your website. Emails can be sent out about 4 weeks before the event, and sent again at 2 weeks, 1 week and then the day before.  Here you can think about trying to encourage people to arrange a meet up with you to help better structure your day, if that is your objective, or you could mention the competition to encourage visitors to enter.

Promotional materials

It is always worth having some materials available that you can give to new business that they can take away with them. However it is more worthwhile for you to capture their details so you can follow up after the event. Competitions work well in this instance as you can direct the information that will be relevant for you. Most exhibitions will have scanners available for you to hire so when a potential client pops over for a chat, you can scan their details from their badges and be sent a list after the event,  but these are available at an extra cost.

Prepare your team

It’s important to take members of your team that will benefit from the exhibition most. Once you have this worked out, drawing up a rota of the days they will be attending is ideal so they can plan their day and communicate this to clients.  By establishing basic rules and dress code for all staff to follow, and ensuring they are fully briefed on the objectives and their role will there should be a smooth and professional feel to your stand on the day.

Setting up the day before

Having a check list of everything that you need to remember to take with you will ensure that nothing is forgotten. Set up times and any requirements or access passes that you will need to be allowed in before the exhibition will be stated within the manual so be sure to check these to avoid any further delays.

Don’t’ forget to allow plenty of time to get to the venue so you can make the last minute tweaks within the time frame before they close the access.

During the Exhibition:

Exhibitors are normally allowed into the venue before the public so again, check the times in which you are allowed to arrive. Aim to be there about 10 minutes earlier than the opening of the show allowing time for final checks and a final catch up with your to make sure no-one has any questions.  Access badges sometimes be collected when you set up the stand but again you will have to check with the event organisers to see if this is possible.

Pictures of the team and regular updates of the day for social media will help to keep things current.

Things to consider when presenting yourself on a stand:

o   Keep your stand space as tidy as you can,

o   Try not to eat on your stand

o   The way you stand will have an impact on people approaching you – arms folded will give off an impression that you are not very approachable. Stand up, look friendly, approachable and smile.

o   Never leave your stand unattended – you can miss out on potential networking opportunities.

o   Take regular breaks and wear comfortable shoes – your feet will thank you for it!

o   If you need to talk in more detail, move to a seating area either within the exhibition or on your stand depending on the size.

After the Exhibition:

The hard work doesn’t stop after the event! You now have the opportunity to convert those leads from the show into something viable for your business.

By qualifying all leads from the exhibition into ‘hot’ ‘warm’ and ‘cold’ status will help to prioritise the hot leads are followed up as soon as possible - preferably within a week of the event taking place. Depending on the information that you have taken from the individual will depend on how you do this, but generally starting with a call and then following up any actions with an email seems to work best.

Evaluate the event – a debrief with all those that attended will allow you to think about what worked, what you felt was lacking, if there was anything that other exhibitors at the event were doing well and what you would change.

To find out if there is a return from attending my take time to establish so it maybe a good idea to carry out some reporting 3 months after the event to see if any leads have converted into business for you.

About Zenopa:

Zenopa is recruitment with integrity, and has a successful track record of working with leading healthcare companies based within the UK and Europe for both contractual and permanent positions. Our company culture is underpinned by hard work, expertise and team work. As the only agency in our sector to be ISO:9001 Quality Audited, we have training and procedures in place to ensure we consistently deliver a high quality service.

If you would like to find out how we can deliver you solutions to your recruitment solutions, call one of our team on +44 (0) 1494 818000 or email enquiries@zenopa.com

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