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Norway Trade Fairs

checklist
for professional
exhibitors

Norway’s premier meeting place


Checklist for professional exhibitors

Good exhibition planning enhances results and improves profits

We have prepared this checklist to help you Cost-effective supplement


as an exhibitor in the detailed planning of your Exhibition participation represents a cost-effective supple-
involvement, in order to create an even better ment to traditional methods of cultivating customers.
basis for profitable participation. Done properly, it reduces marketing costs, increases sales
and provides management with an effective instrument for
The exhibition as a medium measuring the market’s knowledge of and interest in your
No other medium comes near to matching the exhibition’s company and its products.
opportunities for closing deals directly. Presenting your com-
pany and its products/services at a show accurately targets Become an even better exhibitor –
customers, and permits personal demonstration and promotion. attend our Exhibition School
To help our exhibitors get the most out of their involvement,
An exhibition functions as a two-way medium – in other we offer a one-day course covering every aspect of exhibition
words, your message is communicated with the chance to participation. So far available only in Norwegian, this pro-
get direct feedback on the market’s views about your pro- gramme deals with working methods and provides advice and
ducts, marketing and sales network. In a world increasingly tips on all important considerations before, during and after a
dominated by electronic communication, exhibiting allows you show. The course is suitable for all company personnel invol-
to influence buyers, decision-makers and users face-to-face. ved in an exhibition – coordinator, stand coach, sales person-
nel, other stand staff and so forth.

2
All the important aspects before a show

Planning is the basis for success

Taking part in an exhibition is a complex market- ■ Stand staff must be “drilled” and motivated before the show.
ing activity which involves many people inside ■ Hold a kick-off session with everyone involved in the

and outside your company. So planning will be exhibition five to 10 days before it opens.
essential for achieving an optimal result. ■ Plan the assembly/disassembly periods.

Goals and other general conditions The stand


■ Establish a project team/committee, and appoint a coordi- ■ Clarify whether stand design expertise is available in-house.
nator with full responsibility who must be authorised to ■ Make a rough sketch showing how the stand space will be
manage the project. allocated, indicating the type of stand, products, demonstration
■ Notify everyone involved about the decision to take part in area(s), stand staff, storage room, information desk, the need
the show - and make sure they are kept constantly informed for separate customer cubicles and so forth.
of progress. ■ Contact exhibition/advertising agencies if necessary to

■ Specify clear and easily-defined goals for your involve- secure proposals for stand design/solution (turnkey or off-
ment. Make sure these can be quantified and measured, but the-peg).
also formulate possible quality goals. ■ The stand design should reflect the image your company

■ Decide which products/services will be presented at the wants to project.


show, and the focus for the stand. Coordinate this with other ■ Structure the stand so that you get your message across.

marketing activities. A visitor must be able to see and understand it from


■ Choose a theme/main message. 15 metres away.
■ Estimate the stand space required. ■ Decide on decor, text and pictures, and signs.

■ Establish an exhibition budget. Concise, eye-catching and simple.


■ Decide who will staff the stand, and how many people are ■ Organise insurance and transport (to/from) of all neces-

needed. Remember that selling at an exhibition is different sary materials.


from normal sales visits. ■ Order all equipment and services required for the stand,

■ Decide how new customer contacts will be registered. unless you opt to leave this to your stand contractor. We will
■ Establish a system for evaluating the quality of visitors provide you with a product catalogue, price list and order
to the stand. form, as well as a contact person who can help you with all
■ Decide whether exhibition offers or other exhibition- the technical and practical aspects of ordering every kind of
specific activities are needed. equipment.
■ Determine whether give-aways are required. ■ Plan and book catering on the stand.

■ Decide on a possible stand uniform which enhances your com-


pany image or the selected theme, and which is easily identifiable. Marketing and PR
■ Try to predict what your competitors might do at the show, The organiser will do a lot to attract visitors to the exhibition.
and consider whether anything needs to be done in that respect. Your job will be to ensure that as many people as possible
■ Check the list of deadlines issued by Norway Trade Fairs, visit your stand.
and submit all bookings/orders on time. ■ Remember your entry in the exhibition catalogue.
■ Book travel and hotel accommodation for stand staff, ■ Remember to post information about your company’s pro-

agents and others due to be present at the exhibition. ducts, brochures, press releases, contact details and so forth
■ Order exhibitor and parking tickets. to the exhibition’s web site for visitors.
■ Draw up a detailed timetable with topics and deadlines, and ■ Book advertising in the exhibition catalogue, trade press

ensure that this is available to everyone involved in the exhibi- and daily press where appropriate.
tion project. ■ Are brochures, information and sales material available,
or must they be produced?

3
Checklist for professional exhibitors

■ Exploit the promotional opportunities offered beyond your ■ Produce and distribute press releases.
stand by the exhibition centre, to the extent that these are ■ Make active use of the trade press – editorial coverage
available. is worth 12 times as much as an ad.
■ Or sponsor an event at the show. ■ Prepare press conferences/materials for the exhibition
■ Establish an internet link from your web site to the exhibi- press centre.
tion’s site, and encourage your contacts to sign up for the show ■ Use extra activities/events – VIP activities, cocktail par-
via this link. ties, competitions, seminars, industry meetings and so forth.
■ Book invitation cards from the organiser.
■ Organise letters/direct marketing shots to customers/ Remember!
prospects, with an invitation card. The crucial factor is the combination of
■ Book meetings with customers who have received invitations. activities. Try to achieve synergies.

All the important aspects during a show

Implementation

Exhibitors want to meet as many people as ■ Staffing rotas have been drawn up.
possible with the highest possible quality at the ■ Catering is organised.

show in the shortest possible time, and at the ■ Information materials are ready for stand use.

lowest possible cost. You have defined the goals ■ Visitor registration is in order and tailored to your requirements.

for your involvement in advance of the show, ■ The company switchboard and other relevant personnel

they have been set overall and broken down to “at home” have been given the necessary information.
determine what each person will be doing on ■ Disassembly has been planned and organised.

the stand. This simplifies and guides the work,


simplifies follow-up and permits a post-show Routines
assessment of whether optimum use was made ■ If a number of people are to staff the stand, they can
of marketing resources. be divided into teams with a coach for each. Encourage
the teams to compete with each other.
Checkpoints ■ Stage a morning meeting every day with the stand

■ A stand manager has been appointed. manager in the chair.


■ Stand construction and occupation have been coordinated ■ Maintain team spirit - generate enthusiasm.

and are under control. and encourage a continued commitment.


■ Realistic goals have been set. ■ Check that the stand “works”.

■ Stand personnel have been trained and their motivation ■ Check against defined goals.

is at a peak. They have been “drilled” in exhibition sales, ■ Reward good performances.

have relevant product knowledge, are fully informed about ■ Follow up the day’s results every evening and compare

good/bad stand behaviour and so forth. them with the specified targets.

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■ Check that visitor registration is working as planned. Stand uniform
■ Ensure that personnel “at home” are continuously Visitors must be able to identify stand staff immediately.
provided with possible leads for quick follow-up. This can be achieved simply by wearing the company’s badge
■ Everyone must help to ensure that the stand is kept tidy on the lapel – or more strikingly by adopting a uniform which
and attractive at all times. matches and emphasises the chosen message. This could
involve skirt/trousers with a distinctive tie/scarf which reflects
Selling at the show the company colours, colourful T-shirts, pullovers and the
The first impression is crucial. Visitors primarily note facial like. Remember good shoes!
expressions, the way staff are dressed and the appearance
of the stand. Stand staff
The staff on your stand are the most critical success factor at
How the actual meeting develops: an exhibition. Well prepared and highly motivated personnel
Contact increase the chances for a good exhibition results.
■ Try to pick out and concentrate on people in your target
audience. Behaviour on the stand
■ Take just one step forward. ■ Look positive.
■ Opening question. ■ Be active without being too pushy.
■ Give the other person something. ■ Introduce yourself by name and function to unknown visitors.
■ Be quick to introduce yourself and your company. ■ Identify the customer’s needs and wishes (avoid “yes or
Identify no” questions).
■ Who are you talking to? ■ Talk only about what you know. Refer to others if you
■ What do they do? cannot answer.
■ Are they interested in learning more? ■ Focus on new developments, if you have any. But remem-
■ Clarify the customer’s requirements/problems/wishes ber that all your products could be new to some customers.
in relation to your product/service. ■ By all means introduce the customer to colleagues or the
Present “boss”. That could help to make them feel important.
■ Present your product (direct the conversation in line with ■ Make proper use of your time. Allocate it according to the
the customer’s wishes). importance of the visitor.
■ Explain the benefits/what the product can do for the customer. ■ But be pleasant and helpful to everyone. Visitors who are
■ Involve the visitor. not part of your target audience today should also form a
Conclusion positive view of your company. They may become a customer
■ Response to the product. in the future.
■ Propose the next step – what have you agreed? ■ If a potential customer arrives when you are engaged with
■ Make the sale/take an order/note the contact. somebody else, agree to meet them later (60 per cent move
Note down on if they are not contacted in one minute).
■ Secure the visitor’s business card and/or complete ■ Register and qualify all interesting visitors on a continuous
a customer contact card. basis. Sum up every day – that makes follow-up easier.
■ Use a bar code reader if available. ■ Write down the conclusions of every conversation – do not
Follow up rely on your memory.
■ Mail suitable material. ■ Keep the stand tidy – it is the company’s face to the world
■ Remember the five-day deadline for dispatching. ■ Ensure that it is always staffed.
■ Letter – phone call – visit. ■ Each person on the stand must work no more than four hours
without a break (they should preferably leave the stand, get
some fresh air).

5
Checklist for professional exhibitors

■ Eat healthily and regularly, that helps to maintain your What not to do on the stand
energy. Remember to drink tap or mineral water while you are ■ Chat on your mobile phone.
on the stand. The air at exhibitions is dry, and it can get hot. ■ Smoke.
■ Important customers do not arrive only in the morning on ■ Spend late evenings with alcohol and spicy food.
the first day of the show. Remember that you have to keep ■ Eat.
going until the exhibition ends. ■ Chew gum.
■ Be correctly dressed. Take care over your clothes and ■ Hand out brochures uncritically.
shoes – you must look and feel presentable all day. ■ Ask the visitor “can I help you?” or “do you have a moment?”
■ Observe the customs of the country (behaviour, dress, – in other words, questions which require a yes or no answer.
communication, food, etc). ■ Underestimate the visitor.
■ Make sure you get to see the whole show. ■ Detain the visitor unnecessarily.
■ Be outgoing towards competitors. Contact with them can ■ Stand with your arms folded at the entrance to the stand.
provide useful information, and you might just as well take ■ Sit/stand passively on the stand – either alone or with
the initiative yourself. other stand staff.
■ If somebody asks where your competitor’s stand is located, ■ Stand with your back to the stand entrance.
show them. They will find it anyway. Be sure to create a trust-
worthy impression.

All the important aspects after a show

Follow-up after the show

Allocate time and resources to the important Exhibition contacts are “fresh goods”
follow-up phase. This is what separates the and must be followed up before enthusiasm declines. So remem-
semi-good from the truly successful. ber the five-day rule – contact all relevant leads within a week.
This should form part of the pre-exhibition planning. If sales staff
are fully booked with other appointments during this period, it
Separate contacts into categories undermines the whole point of exhibiting.
■ List customers/potential customers registered on the stand
for cultivation in order of priority (A, B and C). How to follow up
■ Customers invited but not registered as visitors on ■ Dispatch letter, offer, information and so forth.
your stand. ■ Telemarketing (on your own account or via a telemarketing
■ Unfamiliar potential customers among visitors company) to agree a meeting with the customer – reference
(database from exhibition organiser). visits or the like.
■ Visit the customer.

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Establish a plan Exhibition report
Draw up a plan for future follow-up of leads - after three, six A good assessment of the exhibition should include many dif-
and nine months as required. Supervise and inform/motivate ferent measures and measurement methods. These can include,
those working with these contacts. but are not limited to, obtaining the following information:

1. Visitor numbers and quality.


Process visitor statistics
2. Results.
Process the visitor figures provided by the exhibition organiser
3. Fulfilment of targets.
to see what useful conclusions be drawn from them.
4. Exhibition’s impact.
5. Evaluation of how the stand staff worked.
Measuring and evaluating results
6. Experience meetings.
A summing-up and evaluation are crucial for identifying
results – and invaluable documentation when you come to Where the first three items are concerned, it is important to
take part in possible exhibitions later. distinguish between the success of the exhibition organiser
and your own success as an exhibitor.
■ Hold a first evaluation meeting with everyone involved
immediately after the show. Discuss what was good and less
Financial result
good, what your competitors did and so forth.
Identifying total costs and income relating to an exhibition is
■ Assess whether your targets were met in the form of in-
important. The cost side will usually be easy to calculate, but
creased sales, new contracts, enhanced knowledge about your
it can be harder to establish an entirely accurate picture of
company and its products/services, and so forth.
revenues because it is frequently difficult to attribute sales to
■ Prepare an exhibition report. Remember to distribute all
the relevant show.
or part of this to everyone involved.
■ Financial results. Costs/earnings three, six and 12 months Investment I
= Effect E
after the show.
Result R
■ What has the exhibition given us?
■ Was it worth the investment? In order to establish an accurate measure of the effect, you
■ Are we going to take part again? If so, how? may have to look at results three, six or 12 months after the
show. The cost/benefit can be assessed in terms of customer
Implementing a market survey before and/or after the show, contacts, interested visitors, orders, brochures distributed,
covering people in the target audience(s), will allow you to samples distributed, visitors attending product demonstrations
measure how the exhibition has influenced knowledge of your and so forth.
company and/or its competitors. In the same way, you can
assess how far participation in the show has helped to
enhance your company’s image.

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anne-kari@designkjelleren.no | Photos: Barbro F. Steinde and Norway Trade Fairs | Translation: R E Gooderham / Print: Offset Forum AS | Print run: 1 500, June 2005

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