Trade shows and exhibitions seem straightforward beasts to handle. You pick where you wish to exhibit, you buy a stand, catch a plane to the destination, exhibit and return home with new deals and new contacts. It’s simple – has a solid logic to it and doesn’t put too much strain. However, it is how people who have never exhibited think about trade events. The reality of exhibiting is, as always, a bit more complicated than that. A lot of moving parts go into a trade show and you learn its intricacies over years of experience.
It’s a bit of a trial and error situation, but don’t worry – we don’t intend to let you learn the hard way. Take out notepads and be ready to take notes, because we’re going to give you solid advice on the four things you want to know well in advance about exhibiting:
On this blog, we talk a lot about planning and how you should be meticulous about every detail, because it’s how you guarantee a company business trip runs smoothly and without interruptions. Let us dig a little bit deeper into this, because the truth of the matter is something always goes the wrong way. After all, you’re not God. You don’t have direct control over flight schedules, weather, sickness, errors, technical difficulties and bad luck.
You can’t prevent mistakes and obstacles, but you can plan for them. The seasoned exhibitor will tell you that you need to have contingency plans for any and every situation. You will also hear you learn on the job; figure out how to deal with a certain situation, when it happens, but that’s too much stress to handle. It’s best to anticipate disaster before it strikes and chart out a suitable course of action to put into motion, when it does!
The exhibition staff you take along on your business trip comprises of valuable team members – at least we hope so – that perform important functions in the office back home. While attending a trade show is mostly about growing the business and learning all there is to learn, exhibiting also has a strong impact on your staff’s dynamics. You can return home as a unified team that has total and complete trust in each other, and is committed to the success of the company, or fly back with strained relationships, resentment and a lot of baggage that will not help anyone.
It all comes down to you as the manager how the stress and the demands of an exhibition is going to affect you and your staff. Seasoned exhibitors will tell you that once you’re at the event, it’s a walk on a tightrope between pushing your team to perform better to achieve the goals you’ve set, and also keeping team morale and motivation high. Doing this successfully is what makes you as the manager invaluable.
The number one thing we repeat time and time again is to manage your budget better. Cut out all the unnecessary expenses and seek out the best deals you can find on the market. This also means to be active about asking about discounts and promotions. It won’t hurt you to inquire about any possibilities to slash down prices. This is especially viable when talking with companies that are in charge of manufacturing your promotional materials. If you’re a bigger group, you can ask about special promotions and price packages for transport and accommodation. Reach out to the event organizers to talk about ways to make it more affordable to exhibit at their trade show. If you’re a smaller company, this is the best way to reduce the financial burden.
We want to draw attention to the fact that you can’t produce quality results in a short time window at a reduced cost. Why do we say this? Because at some point you will be pressed for time or for money, when preparing for a business trip and you’ll have to make a decision that will sacrifice one of these three sides in the so-called quality triangle. If you’re adamant about quality, but you need to produce results in a short time period, then you’re going to have to sacrifice finances to get it. If you’re financially challenged, then you’re going to have to lower your standards. This is also a reminder that the best time to put things into motion is as early as possible to not have to choose between quality and the price.