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Exhibitionism it's Not (Quite) What You Think

Aug 17, 2007
We realize that with a title like that, you're probably reading this article for salacious tidbits, perhaps about some celebrity or another behaving scandalously in public. In reality, it's not quite what you think. Exhibitionism is also the art and science of getting the most out of your display at an exhibition or convention and while conventions can involve celebrities, most of the scandal comes from how poorly most exhibitors misuse their resources in an exhibit hall.

First, if you're planning to attend a trade show or exhibit as a vendor, think back to the last few experiences you had as a consumer walking the show. You likely saw traffic patterns that moved in clumps around popular booths and saw a number of booths and displays, most of which you ignored.

Most of the logistics behind being a vendor at an exhibition is handled by the event management company if you're thinking about hosting an exhibition by your firm or for your industry, seriously look into having professionals do it they can get venues at cheaper rates, talent, entertainment and, often, catering at discount rates because they book these facilities more often or buy in bulk, which always reduces their price. Plus, it will take less of your time chasing down the forty-one clipboards of checklists, making sure everything is done in the right order. These folks are pros for a reason and they're worth every penny in terms of your sanity and time.

Now, as a vendor at an exhibition, your job is two fold: The first is getting people to stop by your booth and the second is getting them to stay there long enough to get information about your products and services. If your exhibition allows direct sales to consumers, you'll want to arrange for a point of sale system.

Getting people to stop by your booth means you need to stand out from the crowd, without being annoying. Most convention halls have terrible acoustics. Having a large, looping audio visual display usually adds to the noise pollution, gets ignored by most attendees going by and will drive your booth staff barking mad before the first day is over. Plus, if it's truly loud, you'll offend your neighbors at the hall and might have trouble getting a good placement in next year's show. Better ways are pop up displays and having someone knowledgeable about the product with good interpersonal skills smile and greet people as they wander by. When doing the meet and greet routine, have something funny to say, if possible, and be amiable, accepting that most people will smile back, take your flyer and shove it into their bag to look at later. Convention goers are usually scouting the hall's early in the show.

Getting the most out of your display space means you need to know who your audience is there are roll up and pop up displays that serve as excellent backdrops for products and make good visual sight lines for customers walking the floor to see them. There are spring tension displays that are meant to stand out near the aisle to get someone's attention. If your show has small children attending, be aware that their eye height is lower than an adult's and put something they'll want to see at their level, so they can drag their parents to your booth.

For a lower key display, you'll also want to look at racks for storing merchandise or literature for customers to take with them. Most of these display stands are modular, letting you grow them as your exhibition presence changes over the years.

Before you go to a convention, draw out on graph paper what your booth layout will be like. Set it up in your garage with some tables and look at it critically ask yourself if it's conveying the most information in the clearest fashion and have someone who isn't associated with your company look it over as well.

Converting an interested party into a buyer requires reading body language for cues that you've bored them. Not everyone can be excited about each product, tailor what you're saying to the person sitting in front of you and focus on how this product or service meets their needs. In fact, ask them up front what sorts of products or services they need, either for themselves or for their retail establishment and use that to your advantage in what you tell them about your products.

With a bit of practice, you can make a person sitting at your booth to rest their feet do the bulk of the thinking needed to sell them a product or service.
About the Author
At www.odysseyexhibitions.co.uk we offer exhibition display equipment, hanging banners, shell scheme graphics, pop-up stands or a showroom with exterior signage is right first time, on time and within the exhibit budget.
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