How to Stand Out at a Convention as a First Time Exhibitor
December 16, 2015
Your product is ready to meet the public. You are excited to present it to the industry. You've booked a space at the convention as an exhibitor. Now what?
Standing out at a convention as a first time exhibitor is neither difficult nor costly. There are several areas to consider, and they vary depending on your industry, product, and the exhibition space.
Professional Appearance: This may seem extremely simple, but there are many facets to appearance and you need to cover them all. Dress (business, casual, company uniform, etc.) needs to be an instant identifier for your company and the staff working your booth. Signs, banners, and posters should be professionally designed and produced. This is definitely the time to hire a good graphic designer. A solid, uniform look that ties signage to dress is appropriate and helpful -- you want to look corporate even if you aren't yet. Customers are more likely to trust the products and services of what they perceive as a corporation rather than a small business. Table coverings need to be engaging and enhance the product and image. Don't clutter your table space, keep it neat and easily accessible to clients.
Lighting: Whether you are presenting in a hall or outdoors, you should manage your own lighting. Indoor lighting is often insufficient and perception of the color of your products can be affected due to the typical incandescent lights used in large buildings. Using lights to brighten your booth will attract more attention to it, correct color issues, and avoid "dark corners". Lights can also be directed specifically at a demonstrator. Outdoor events have their own lighting issues -- tents block a lot of natural light and need their own interior light source, sundown exacerbates the problem. Point lights inward and upward to use the canopy of the tent to diffuse the light.
Be Open and Inviting: Many exhibitors make the mistake of putting a table in front of their display space and hiding behind it. It limits customer traffic and puts a block between you and potential clients. Open your space and invite people to come in. An audience that has entered your space feels more obligated to watch a demonstration or browse your products than a passer-by.
Allow Touching (if applicable): Some exhibitors keep products behind the table, out of reach, and away from potential clients because they fear theft. But people like to be able to touch things, to study and get a feel for them on their own. Let people touch your products. With proper staffing and techniques, you can ensure theft is unlikely to occur. Pass the product through the crowd in your space after demonstrations. Encourage potential customers to ask questions, make comments, etc. as they handle the item.
Be Confident: Your first convention can be daunting. Hopefully you have been able to attend a convention before exhibiting to see what the display standards of your industry are, but don't worry if you haven't had the chance. You know your product. You are confident it will be well-received and become a staple of the industry. Project this confidence. Be excited and genuinely happy to talk to people.
Talk to Other Exhibitors: Before the show during set-up if possible, during any breaks in flow, afterwards, whenever you can. We tend to think of other exhibitors as competition. Not so! They are potential business partners, colleagues, friends, and the voice of experience. You will gain knowledge and valuable connections in conversation with other exhibitors.
Whether you are a first-time exhibitor or have a few shows under your belt, we would love to help you with solutions to enhance and promote your product. Please contact us for further information.
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