New to Trade Shows? A Red17 Survival Guide for First-Time Exhibitors!
If you’re gearing up for your first ever trade show, it’s an exciting time. A whole array of potential new clients awaits you, and you’ll have opportunity to network with countless similar businesses.
Here’s a trade secret that you may not be prepared for, though – trade shows are exhausting. A whole lot of work awaits you if you’re going to make your exhibition a success.
Thankfully, Red17 has you covered. Here are our tips to making it through your first show. With our advice, you won’t just survive – you’ll thrive!
Use Folding Display Boards
The biggest logistical concern of exhibiting at a trade show is how you present your posters, advertising campaigns and leaflets. Folding display boards are by far the most versatile way of achieving this.
As the name suggests, folding display boards can be compressed. This makes them much easier to transport to and from your vehicle, as well as making storage much easier.
Red17 offers a wide array of folding display boards, which can be tailored to your needs. Select your number of panels – ranging from 6, 7, 8 or 10 – and choose between orange or blue as your colour scheme.
You don’t even need to use a freestanding folding display board. If you’d like something a little more compact, consider a tabletop board. This is the perfect solution for anybody displaying in a smaller space.
When the exhibition draws to a close, you’ll be glad that you chose folding display boards. In a handful of swift and easy motions, the boards and closed up and compacted – with your materials still in place. This means they can be placed in storage until needed again, or whisked straight off to the next exhibition.
Bring a Reliable Support Team
Nobody can run a successful exhibition alone. Bring along a trustworthy team to help you out through the event. It’s critical that a smiling face greets visitors to your booth.
If you don’t have a support team, your stand will be left unattended while you take breaks – and make no mistake, you’ll need plenty of breaks! Even leaving aside the logistics of visiting the bathroom, you’ll need to periodically leave your station to recharge your batteries.
Obviously, staff members are ideal for this. They’ll have an appropriate knowledge of your business model, and will be capable of answering most questions that visitors may have.
If your staff team are unavailable, ask friends or family members to pitch in. They may not be able to answer any questions about the business directly, but they can point people toward the content of your folding display boards. More importantly, you can be sure that they’ll do anything they can to promote you.
Keep Hydrated and Make Sure You Eat
It’s hugely important that you drink enough water while you’re displaying at an exhibition. Dehydration can play havoc with the human brain, leaving our mind foggy and unable to think straight. Countless cups of coffee will not be enough!
You’ll also need to make sure you eat throughout the day. You’ll be burning energy throughout your exhibition, and nobody is at their best while their stomach is rumbling. Eat breakfast before you start, and ensure you take a lunch break. You’ll need the fuel that food provides.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
Professionalism is paramount when you're displaying at an exhibition. You'll need to bring your A-game to every potential client, customer or collaborator that approaches your booth.
The way you present yourself physically has a big impact on this. No matter how knowledgeable you sound, poor posture can give the wrong impression. Keep your back straight, regardless of whether you're standing or seated. Believe it or not, slouching is actually more physically demanding than maintaining an appropriate stance.
Naturally, the way you speak if also important. Be calm, and above all, be knowledgeable. Present the contents of your folding display boards to friends and colleagues in advance, and see how they react. Have a think about every question that may arise before you reach the trade show.
If somebody asks something you can't answer, don't get flustered. Take a moment to compose yourself, and explain that their valid question is something that you'll need to take under consideration. Turn a negative into a positive; ask for their contact details, so you can come back to them. Now you have a perfect icebreaker to begin a future dialogue.
You only get one chance to make a first impression, and all the content in the world counts for little if you present it poorly. If you can retain professionalism and keep your head when all those around you are losing theirs, you'll be on your way to a successful exhibition.
Absorb your Surroundings
There's a lot going on at any trade show. While this can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, there's also a great deal to learn.
If you get the opportunity, take the time to wander around and look at the folding display boards of other exhibitors. Whether they're direct competitors to your business or unrelated to your field, you may be able to glean some helpful insights from these displays, especially those that ate attracting more attention than your own.
What colour schemes are they using? Do they have particularly eye-catching visuals, or do they rely heavily on copy? Do they have a larger support network around them? Even the most successful exhibitor was a first-timer once. They will have picked up these tricks of the trade by learning from others.
Above all, make sure that you take a moment to enjoy what you've achieved. You wouldn't be attending an exhibition unless your business was big enough to justify the investment in your time and finance. Pat yourself on the back, and promise to return with an even bigger and better display next time!
There’s a lot to do at trade shows, but the benefits can greatly outweigh any drawbacks. You may be tired when you leave, but you’ll have a raft of new insights into your business, and a long list of potential clients and collaborators.
Get your folding display boards set up, make sure you can speak eloquently and knowledgeably about their contents, and take care of your body and mind. If you follow these golden rules, you’ll enjoy a successful and educational experience.