Has anyone shown at an exhibition / event before? Help!

(12 Posts)
AlwaysOneMissing Mon 01-Jul-13 14:44:09

I am attending an organised event, which is marketed to my specific target group, so it is a great opportunity to try to sell my services there.
However, this will be my first exhibition and I'm not really sure what will / won't work.

To any of you who have had stalls / stands at events or fairs or exhibitions, what do you think worked it didn't work? I don't sell actual products, just services, so if I had a stall, I would lay out flyers, business cards, offer some free fizz and cakes, have signage around detailing what I do, price list on display etc. Would that seem too sparse seeing as I do not have a stall full of wares to sell?

The other option is a stand and a chair, where I can display signage and people can talk to me about my services. This will obviously be less display area though, and I almost think that people are more likely to just walk past a stand and a person, whereas they may be more likely to be drawn to a stall (especially with free cake!).
The price difference between hiring the two is negligible so that's not a factor.
Im just not sure which would be better suited to my needs.

I do not actually have any signage or anything yet either as I've never done anything like this before. Is there anything that you think particularly works best to draw in passing potential clients?

Without wanting to out myself, I will say that I offer a type of health / beauty service. Would it be a good idea to have a live model to demonstrate with?! (I could maybe rope a family member or friend into doing this for me if it would be a good idea).

I'm sooo nervous at the thought of it, but I know it's too good an opportunity to pass up so I want to make the best of it.

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Mon 01-Jul-13 20:35:18

A demo is always good. Is it the type of treatment you could offer to a visitor too?

In my experience working on various publishing stands, visitors cannot resist chocolate. Don't break the bank, it does not need to be expensive at all. We efen did a sort if drw with M&Ms once.

Having a few on offer on the stand can help break the ice: I cannot leave the stand much... Have you seen anything interesting? What were you looking for? (Open questions, so that a discussion can start, nothing that can be answered by yes/no).

Keep an eye on your valuables, bag and latptop, etc. Exhibitions are rife with pick pockets. At least in London.

AlwaysOneMissing Mon 01-Jul-13 23:16:30

Thanks for that Frequent, any help is appreciated!

I couldn't really carry out my service on a visitor, but I could suggest to them what we would do if they were to book. And I could probably use your open ended question tactic to ask them what they would like to get out of a service from me, or if they have any previous experience of the services I am offering.

Great to know about the chocolate!! What was it you did with M&Ms, a prize draw? Fab idea! And a great way to get people's contact details.

I'm not in London but the safety tips are still welcome, I suppose I am going to have to leave my stall unmanned on occassion to use the loo etc so I will make friends with my neighbours and ask them to keep a look out for me maybe.

Thanks again, my confidence is growing as I start to think about it and plan it out more.

WilsonFrickett Mon 01-Jul-13 23:59:31

Ive never been in a situation like this, but my friend used to do clothed, seated massage in a shopping centre and said the only time people went for it was when they saw her massaging other people (usually me, with DS on reins grin) so I think a model is definitely a good idea. And good business cards.

AlwaysOneMissing Tue 02-Jul-13 07:19:07

Haha what a good friend you are Wilson!
That's interesting though, I will do my best to get a live model to demonstrate on. I think it is bound to generate a bit of interest.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Tue 02-Jul-13 09:39:21

Hi always <waves>

Sounds great. I think table and chair sounds good.

I think there are 4 elements:

1) Making the most of your stand prior to the event via social media/clients. It shows you mean business if you are exhibiting.

2) Having the stand look good, so where poss professionally printed signage. You should be able to get. roller/banner stand for c£100/150. Or if you want something more affordable a printer might be able to print you a table top 'stand up' sign. Ideally making sure your service is clear, so logo, service description and a few bullet points and some imagery.

3) Having something to engage passers by. Some good tips on here already. Competitions, freebies, special show offer etc are all good.

4) Collecting and using data from visitors. The value of the show will hopefully extend beyond the show day.

I have found every show is different, but they are rarely a waste of time/money. They can build your confidence if nothing else.

Good luck!

AlwaysOneMissing Tue 02-Jul-13 11:41:57

Hi Margo! <waves back, grinning>

Thank you for the brilliant advice (again smile )

Do you think the stall / table top would be best then? Just to correct myself too, the other option is actually just a space on the floor with a chair. So I would have to provide a sign /flip chart etc (none of which I have!) and I'm not sure I can make that as eye catching.

I didn't realise banners were that expensive so I might approach a local printer to see if they could crate me something for a lower cost. I'm in danger of spending more on attending this event than I can feasibly make back from it so I am trying not to go overboard with the spending.

I had planned to take some contact detail sheets and maybe have a prize draw which everyone who fills in their contact details gets entered into it. Then I can use these email addresses etc afterwards for marketing. I was also thinking of offering a discount if they book on the day of the event - is that a good idea do you think?

Once I get the place confirmed I will definitely shout it about it on my social media accounts and try to drum up a bit of interest.

Thanks for all the tips, and even if it doesn't lead to a booking, you're right, it will be good for my confidence.

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Tue 02-Jul-13 11:43:39

I am afraid that we had a marketing budget, so we bought a sweetie vending machine (not one you put money in, just a handle to turn), little cups, filled it with MMs (non peanut variety because of allergies) and a little silver ball. Whoever got the silver ball with their chocolates won a free product/session. People could have several goes at various time of the day.

You do not need to go overboard when budget it limited though. The same could be done with a big glass salad bowl, some wrapped chocolates (hygiene) and visitors dip a hand in for a lucky dip, etc.

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Tue 02-Jul-13 11:49:28

Contact daily sheets are a good idea, and prize draw too.

AlwaysOneMissing Tue 02-Jul-13 13:06:54

Great ideas, this is so helpful! I'm getting quite excited smile
I'm more than willing to hear any more suggestions if there are any more forthcoming!

CMOTDibbler Tue 02-Jul-13 13:19:22

To help you manage your contacts better, run a survey with the offer of a prize draw (winning a free session of your service of course) using Zoomerang, then it will do you a nice Excel spreadsheet of all those contacts. Have your iPad with that up, and you don't have to try and read peoples writing.
It also takes people a little while to fill in, so you can chat to them while they do that. The more you talk to people, the more they are engaged with you and will remember you.

I wouldn't have a price list up - thats another thing to engage with people over, the whole thing of stopping 'oh, let me get you a leaflet', showing them through etc. Don't have lots of things out as people will just stuff them in their pockets - inc handfuls of chocolate. But chocs in a small bowl at the back of your stand that you proffer to them is another slower down, and then people feel its rude not to chat.

AlwaysOneMissing Tue 02-Jul-13 21:36:03

Good point Dibbler about getting them to slow down. I will not display the prices then, I will perhaps try to get people interested first then give them a list of services and prices to take away once we've chatted?

I've never heard of Zoomerang - is it a free service? Will people have to fill it in on the iPad? I'm not sure all of my target market will be comfortable / able to use an iPad so I will have to consider that.

Great tips, thank you grin

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