Monday, 15 July 2013

How to Attract Attention from Clients at an Exhibition

Dress to Impress

I have been talking to exhibitors and visiting shows across the UK and Europe for years, and there is always one recurring factor that absolutely baffles me whenever I attend. It is becoming clearer that companies are booking an exhibition space, but are not giving any thought to the best way to dress the stand once they are there.

The main reason for this is complacency. Most of these companies who seem to struggle attracting people to their booth have booked shell scheme stands. The exhibition organisers give them some walls and some furniture, and as far as they are concerned, that is job done. Many companies spend their entire allocated budget on acquiring the stand space, and leave nothing to spend on the dressing of their space.

It is the equivalent of paying to get into a nightclub, and then sitting in the corner on your own in plain clothes until the club shuts. It is the well dressed, attractive person who will garner the most attention, and this is the same for exhibition stands. You could have the greatest product or service that the world has ever seen, but no one will be interested in hearing about it if your exhibition space is drab, boring and with very little effort put into it. People will walk straight past, and a potential business opportunity could slip away.

It shocks me how little effort is put into an exhibition once a company arrives. Attending exhibitions is costly, and for most companies it is a financial gamble, as potential leads and future business is not guaranteed. When you are at the show, you have to give yourself the best possible chance of the gamble paying off; you have to swing the odds in your favour by showing your company in the best light. If you walk into an exhibition an hour before the show starts, throw a couple of posters on the wall and place some business cards on the supplied poseur table, you are not showing off your company to its maximum potential.

Dressing your space properly is the key to a successful show. When prospective clients are walking up the aisle of an exhibition hall, it is your job to draw them in. It is the stand that attracts the client, and it is the sales people that keep them there. If you do not have the initial attraction, even the most experienced sales person will have difficulty keeping them interested. If your space looks like there has been no effort put into it, this will reflect directly onto your entire business.

Let’s look at some examples of successful marketing displays. Harrods and Selfridges spent thousands of pounds and hours of time dressing their shop window displays.
Harrods' Christmas Window Display

Selfridges 100th Birthday Window Display

Why do they do this?

They do it because it is this that will entice the customers inside, and it is only when the customers are in the store, that they can start to sell to them. An exhibition is no different. Your stand space is your shop window, and if you don’t believe your company is worth showing off, then neither will the clients.

So how do you draw the most attention to your stand at an exhibition? How do you make it stand out and make your business look superior to those around it?

Here are the key elements of a successful exhibition stand:

1.  Cover as much of the boring white shell scheme stand as possible
Searcys Shell Clad
                     By covering the shell scheme, you cover the entire framework. This shows clients                      that your company are professional and well presented.

 2. Use big images- a picture says a thousand words

Alfa Romeo Versaform Build

Words are useful, but save them for the sales people. Using large, high-resolution images will catch the client’s eye and inspire their curiosity, meaning they will be more interested in asking about the company.

  3. Make sure your company logo is visible everywhere

Guardian Display Versaform Flex
A company is recognised by most people as a logo. You see McDonalds as the “The golden arches”, you see Apple as the half eaten apple, and so on. You need to display this logo on everything; business cards, graphic panels, banners, pop-ups, on TV screens etc. This is how people will remember you, and you need to make sure they see it. Your logo should be the centrepiece of your graphics.

4. Presentable Sales Staff

Your sales staff are also vital to your stand, without them, you won’t sell a thing. Like your stand, your sales staff must display the company logo with pride; they must be presentable and exhibit the professionalism of your company. They must reflect what your business is all about. Branded shirts or polos will always provide the image of competence and expertise.

   4. Involve Interactive Elements

Lang O'Rourke Versaform Build

No matter how advanced we become as a society, we will always be fascinated by technology. Involve iPads, Laptops, TV Screens and other audio-visual equipment in your exhibition stand, and allow clients to interact with it. Not only will it put them as ease and garner their interest, it is a fantastic ice-breaker and will allow sales staff to sell your product with extreme confidence.

5.  Make sure your graphics are in line and looking seamless

Geniemobile Versaform Flex

Now imagine you have done everything you need to do to make your stand look fantastic, but the graphic panels are out of place and not placed together seamlessly. The entire image is ruined. Spend time ensuring that all panels are correctly aligned, that there are no gaps, no matter how small, and that everything (graphics, brands, displays and panels) are all lined up perfectly. Symmetry is attractive.

6. Graphics are the beauty, the text is the brains

MediaFabric Pop-up Display Stand
Aston Martin Fabric Display

Use your images and your words to their full potential by using them sparingly. Only have a very small amount of text accompanying an image of a graphic. The reason for the graphics is to attract people, so let the sales people talk about the substance once the graphics have done their job.

If you use these tips effectively at your next exhibition, then you will see a rise in the amount of people visiting your stand. You may even have a queue of people waiting to speak to your staff because the display has fueled such curiosity. Show your company off in the best possible light, put the effort in and you will reap the rewards. To find out how Guardian Display can help you make the most out of your exhibition space, visit or give us a call on 01702 662111.

-Thank you for reading!

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