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Setting up a stall at a trade show is an excellent opportunity for showcasing your product and making new connections. The disclaimer is that this is only true if you have all your ducks in a row.

How do you ensure that everything is in order? Avoiding these mistakes would be a good start:

Going to the wrong show

Signing up for a trade show “just because” is not a good business strategy. The trade show has to be relevant to your business and its goals.

First and foremost, the audience – or trade show attendees – has to be the group you want to target. Research the audience by looking at past attendee records.

Secondly, read up on the purpose of the trade show – is it sales or product launches? Does it align with what you want to get from a trade show? If not, this is not the trade show for you at this time.

Neglecting to do pre-show promotion

You have to inform customers, prospects and the public that you will be setting up a stand at an exhibition. Entice them to visit the stall with a promotion or discount.

Definitely use social media as part of your campaign – people can retweet and share your news in a split second, letting even more prospective customers know.

Not giving your exhibition stand enough thought

Exhibiting is not as easy as booking your spot and showing up with a table and two posters. The stand has to be big enough, for starters. You want exhibition staff to be able to move around comfortably and for the space to have ample room for all elements that will be used.

These mentioned elements would also require a fair amount of consideration. Do you need electricity points? Do you need high tables or low ones? Would you need chairs or lamps? Note every little thing to ensure the booth you get offers everything you’ll need.

The look of the exhibition stand is important too. Think about the colours, graphics and fonts you’ll use. Make the space stand out from all the other exhibitors around you.

Not having a back-up plan

There’s a saying that goes “if something can go wrong, it will”. Be prepared! Do you have extra staff on stand-by should someone scheduled to work fall ill? What will you do if you’re moved to a booth smaller than the one you planned for? Run through all possible scenarios and come up with a solution to each.

Failing to follow up on leads

This is post trade show, but a crucial part of the process. Neglecting to follow up on leads will mean a lot of the effort leading up to and during the exhibition was wasted. Why would you want this to happen? Always follow up on leads within a week.

For specific advice and help with your exhibition, contact Assignment 3 at our Cape Town or Johannesburg offices. Our staff is experienced and more than happy to help make a success of your next trade show.

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