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Pre Show Activity

Before you attend a show, make sure you get yourself organised, well in advance. The better and more thoroughly you prepare, the more successful you are likely to be and the fewer, potentially costly, mistakes you are likely to make.

No-one’s perfect, and even the most meticulously planned events have their fair share or mishaps. What’s important is that you’re in strong position to respond effectively, if, or when, something does go wrong. The British Army uses this in their highly effective 6Ps Rule – “Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance”.

Show Checklist:

Book the right stand/event

Choose ones that best suit you and your business, in terms of sector, audience, size and cost. Otherwise, you could waste a good deal of both time and money.

Exhibition stand
Select an exhibition stand that suits your budget and the size of your stand. Give yourself enough time to make sure you’re happy with your branding, message and graphics. Again, it could be an expensive mistake if you don’t give yourself enough time or you don’t prioritise it.

Stand facilities
Think about whether you need a table, chairs, electricity, lighting or refreshments on-stand.

Products / brochures / flyers
Again, think about this well in advance to give yourself time to design and print these. And do make sure they integrate with the stand branding.

Do you plan to hand out ‘freebies’ from the stand? If so, what, and who will you give them to? This can be expensive, so be clear about costs and the purpose of giving things away. If there’s not benefit for the business, then don’t do it.

Special show promotions
If you plan to offer a promotion or special discount at the show, do the maths to make sure they are affordable and that they won’t generate a loss.

Data capture
This is vital. Understand what data about customers you want to capture and how you are going to do it. Remember, if you want to create a customer database or mailing list so that you can contact them in the future, you must ask their explicit permission.

Prep staff on what’s expected
Even if your staff have worked on your stand before, or on others, it is important to walk them through the event and what you expect of them.

Assign jobs to staff so they know exactly what they’re doing.
This is key, as you don’t want to waste time on this once the event has started as it could lose you valuable sales and contact time with your customers.

Staffing rota
Set this up in advance so everyone knows when they need to arrive and what time their breaks are.

Accommodation / food
If you need to stay overnight for the event, book your accommodation as soon as you book your stand. Everyone else at the event will be doing the same thing so the closest hotels and b&bs will get booked up quickly. Also try to find some economic places to eat so you’re not wasting time looking for restaurants after a tiring day on stand.

Consider what refreshments, if any, to make available to your staff and to stand visitors during the event. At the very least, think about including a water cooler. Not only will this help your staff, but is an incentive for people to come onto your stand.

Before the event, check which of your competition will be there, as “forewarned is forearmed”. At the event, make sure you take a look at their stands and how they’re performing. They will be doing the same to you.

Set targets
This will vary depending on your business, but your targets should be tangible and realistic. Base them on how many sales or leads you expect to generation, or, if this is for PR purposes, how much publicity you expect to receive.

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