Whether you’re a seasoned veteran exhibiting at events or the new booth on the block, chances are you’re looking to get into more events. Easier said than done though huh?
In this article, you’ll learn 5 tips to exhibit at more events, written by a former exhibitor coordinator and exhibitor.
The 5 Tips
This is often overlooked for new exhibitors. Think of these events as a castle. The coordinator is the ruler of this castle and holds the keys to the castle. The ruler wants their castle to look as good as possible to impress guests, build their castle value, and provide a wonderful experience. If your booth looks like you threw it together, why would the ruler want your booth in their beautiful castle? The same goes for events. Coordinators are just like consumers and are attracted by things that look good, after all, they are people too! An easy way to exhibit at more events is to have an attractive-looking booth. This will increase your booth’s perceived value, draw attention to your booth, and will make coordinators WANT you at their event.
What makes a booth attractive? Good question, but the answer varies based on what event you are attending. In general here are some tips to take your booth appearance to the next level:
- No handwritten signs
- Clear branded professional signage with high-quality images
- Consistent brand colors
- Hide un-used items and keep your booth clean and tidy
- Lighting, there’s nothing worse than a dark and gloomy booth
If you need professional signage or booth items check out our print shop where you’ll receive FREE shipping, FREE proofs, and an Exceptional Experience!
The next part is kinda like when you tell your friend you met a celebrity and they say “show me the picture to prove it”, you’ll want to get a few high-quality photos of your booth so you can “prove it” on your applications. When available, always include those photos with your application, photos sell more than words on paper!
Another great read is from the folks over at Nimlok Tradeshow Marketing on booth design.
The application is your chance to show your value.
What makes your booth unique, why should the coordinator pick your booth over the other guy, and why would they want you at their event?
If the event uses paper applications, first off tell them to switch to Fair and Event Booth Management. In all seriousness, if you must fill out a paper application try and fill it out digitally. A great way to do that is with Adobe or if you have an Apple product you can fill in the document with their editor. Be sure to fill out all the information they ask of you. If you don’t have all the information, hold off on turning the app in until you do.
Nothing makes a coordinator crazier than applications that aren’t 100% complete.
If the application asks for your insurance, be sure that it contains the exact verbiage for the additionally insured. While that seems kinda silly, it’s very important to events as it protects them and is always a pain for coordinators to hunt down.
We always suggest including booth photos with your application too, it never hurts and photos give a better understanding as to what you’ll bring to the event.
Hand-written applications are so 2000, plus there’s nothing worse than a coordinator trying to read your handwriting…
If you’re able to apply online through Fair and Event, lucky you! Be sure to put “NA” in any field that you don’t have an answer for or should be left blank. Based on your application type it’ll show you what documents are needed from you as well, don’t forget to turn those in!
Show Your Value:
Have you ever heard the term “Samples Sell”, it’s true! Often when someone is able to try your products or get a better understanding of them they’re more likely to buy in. Send your coordinator a sample of whatever product you sell! If you’re selling cookies send them a dozen. If you sell commercial business jets send a sample of the material you use and one of your informational packets. Anything you can provide is better than no samples at all.
Do your customers travel to various events just to come to see your booth? If so, this means more attendees for the event! Let your coordinator know!
Why does this coordinator want you over the next person? That’s the question you’re trying to answer here!
Being told “No” flat out sucks! But this is the starting point and certainly not the end if you get told “No”. You see, being told no is actually the starting point for a negotiation. Just like negotiating a job, you can negotiate their “No” as well!
They told you “No” for some reason whether that was duplication, poor booth appearance, a crummy application, or maybe they just didn’t want your product.
It’s your job to figure out what the reason is that you got the “No”.
Try this line: “Thank you! This might be a ridiculous question, but do you mind me asking why I was rejected? Always looking to get better “ Admittedly this line is from Chris Voss’s book “Never Split The Difference”, if you haven’t read it it’s worth the read!
Hopefully, they respond and tell you why they rejected you. Once they do, problem solve and handle their objection!
Example: “You were rejected because we already have a phone sales booth at our event”. Maybe respond with “I fully understand! Seems to be a lot of us out here nowadays. This might be another ridiculous question, but would you be opposed to seeing what we offer to you and your attendees that would add value to your event?” and hopefully they reply with a “Yes!”.
Often times we see negotiating as awkward. The best way to get better at it is to practice and think of it as a genuine conversation. Don’t overthink it, you’re just trying to get to the real objection so you can answer it.
Don’t take the rejection personally either! Most events get a significant amount of applications, they’re just trying to weed through them all and make quick decisions.
Persistency wins too! Don’t be a pest, but do show that you really want to attend their event.
Thank You Letters:
This is the most valuable tip in the article I think. When’s the last time you received a handwritten thank you letter? Probably around the holidays or for your birthday, but can you remember the last time you got one for doing something?
In a world full of digital, handwritten cards really stand out.
Even if you got rejected from an event, send them a thank you card with a company sticker and business card. Express your gratitude for allowing you to apply and let them know that you hope to do business with them next year.
Taking the time to handwrite a card really shows that you are committed to the relationship.
John Kralik wrote a wonderful on the power of thank you cards in his book “A Simple Act of Gratitude”
That’s A Wrap!
Exhibiting at more events is as easy as maintaining a professional appearance, showcasing value in your application, handling objections as they arise, and being thankful for any outcome.
♥️ Your Fair and Event Team