Those lovely people at F2F (aka the Allergy and FreeFrom show) threw a party for us exhibitors yesterday – which was extremely nice of them! And not only did they feed us a very tasty lunch, but they told us some extremely useful stuff about the shows themselves and threw in a super useful marketing tutorial from MD Austen Hawkins.
Why? Well, they very reasonably want exhibitors to get the most that they possibly can out of exhibiting at their shows. This is not just because they want us all to have a good time and book again for next year (which obviously they do want too) but because they really do believe (and I do believe that they really do believe it!) that a good consumer exhibition is the best possible place to sell your goods.
As Tom Treverton, director of all the UK shows, pointed out, a dedicated exhibition is just like an enormous shop – but with a whole load of keen customers who have come specifically to buy the kind of goods that you are selling. And he did mean a ‘whole load’… Last year’s London show saw over 36,000 people coming through the doors over three days – every one of them there only because they were specifically interested in finding out about and, ideally, buying ‘freefrom stuff’ – from you!!!
And…. Those of you who also want to make trade contacts. Buyers from supermarkets, wholesalers and retail shops come to the show, especially on the Friday in London, because they know that there will be a whole load of new products from new companies launching themselves at the show. Do not waste the opportunity… Make sure that you have your top sales people on the stand, primed and ready to seize upon anyone who looks like a buyer. Have all the information ready and, by whatever means that you can, get their contact details!
If this all sounds a bit obvious, it is, but, as Austen then pointed out, it is amazing how many people spend a lot of money on exhibiting at shows and then totally fail to make the best use of them. So – a few thoughts:
- We all suffer from advertising overload – so we do not want any more advertising messages thrust at us. But, by choosing to go to an exhibition, we are specifically giving permission to exhibitors to talk to us and ‘sell us’ their goods.
- Being able to talk to a potential purchaser face to face gives you, as the seller a great advantage – you can assess your potential purchaser and tailor your pitch to suit them.
- Exhibitions appeal to all five senses – smell, sound, taste as well as what you see – and that burns into the emotional, subconscious side of your brain – much more powerful than just reading or hearing about it.
- Exhibition visitors become ambassadors for what they have seen and tried – because they talk about it to their friends. Use them!!
- Exhibitions deliver data – one of the most valuable tools in business. Collect that data! Talk to people, get their email addresses, find out what they like/want/don’t like, write it down!! Then use it….
But…..most important of all. None of this will work unless you, on your stand, get out there and talk to the visitors. So:
- Always look happy and interested – no one wants to talk to someone who looks miserable.
- Choose who you have to work on the stand with you with care – the success of an exhibition for an exhibitor depends almost entirely on the people who are manning that stand.
- Never sit!! Always stand and be ready to move out to people.
- Do NOT talk to your fellow workers, read your book, eat your lunch, look bored….
- You are there to talk to the visitors – so talk to them!!
- Be friendly without being pushy – ask them open questions about what they are looking for.
- Sell the benefits of your products (what the product will do for the visitor) not the virtues of the product.
- Visitors come to a show to have a good time and enjoy themselves – make sure that by being friendly, informative, fun and helpful you enable them to have a really good time! They will remember you as a result.
Both Tom and Austen, and some of the other team members, said a good deal more – some very useful info on setting up and stand design (keep it simple!!!) for example. If you would like to know more (and I really suggest that you should) email Sianie at F2F who has created a pdf with all the relevant nuggets.