The Five “L’s” of Exhibit Success

The 5 L's of Exhibit Success
The Five “L’s” of Exhibit Success
Photo Courtesy of Flickr

As I was cleaning my office the other day, I came across an article in Trade Show Week that was written almost 20 years ago by Michael Falkowitz, who, at that time, was Sales Development Manager at Nabisco.

Although it was printed some time ago, I would like to share a few lines of timeless advice from that article.

Following are five principles that will ensure both exhibit and job success:

* Learn:

Never stop learning.  The huge technical development that can be [attained] at trade shows is one example of the reasons why exhibit managers must continue to learn. Being a successful exhibit manager will involve knowing and applying this ever-evolving technology.

* Love:

Maintain a positive attitude even in stressful times. Respond to all inquiries. Ours is a communication business. It is rude [to] not respond to phone calls. Know everything there is to know about your company, and go the extra mile, no matter what task you face.

* Laugh:

Keeping a sense of humor can see you through stressful periods and make your- and your team members’- jobs much easier.

* Labor:

Like going the extra mile, doing the best possible job will help make your exhibit the center of attention. Hard work and sacrifice are part of the job.

* Leave:

When the show is done, it’s time to take back what you have learned and start applying those principles to the next trade show.

In closing, it is important to remember that a tradeshow display is not a museum. It’s a billboard, a time-compressed live marketing event and a communication process. Creating an exhibit that’s the center of attention is a matter of taking advantage of those features creatively.

Written by Francine Brooks, President of FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

Use Words to Attract your Audience

Use Words to Attract your Audience to your Trade Show Booth

Every word can have a positive or negative impact on your marketing efforts, especially at trade shows… whether you are creating large graphics, sales material, pre-show marketing campaigns, or talking directly with a prospect.

Since exhibitors have less than 6 seconds to attract attendees to their booth, consistently choosing the “right” words becomes very important.

Below are a few proven marketing words to help you communicate more effectively and accomplish your goals at your next trade show.

#1: “YOU”

This is one of the most important words. Using the word “you” makes it easier to connect to your target audience and draw a direct line from your products/services to how they can provide a solution to your potential clients.

Selling is never about products or services.  It’s about the benefits that are meaningful to your target audience.

#2: “SAFE”

Whether you are dealing with money, health, personal well-being, technology or manufacturing, touting the safety of your product or service is important.

Potential clients do not want to take high risks to address challenges or needs with which they are already dealing. They want a trustworthy, easy solution so they can stop worrying.

#3: “RESULTS”

It is important for prospects to connect your product or service with the results they are hoping to achieve.

Prospective buyers are looking for one thing: Results. You must communicate the results your products/services provide in all aspects of trade show marketing.

Although these three words are simple on their own, by adding them to a well-constructed message on your display graphics, in  your pre and post show marketing communication, on your sell sheets, and in verbal interaction with attendees, conversion rate and ROI will definitely improve.

Good luck!

Written by Francine Brooks, President of FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

Would you stop at your own booth?

Boost the “Curb Appeal” at your next trade show!

Photo courtesy of Flickr
Photo courtesy of Flickr

Have you ever thought about the similarities between the “curb appeal” of a home that’s for sale and that of your trade show booth? In both instances, the first impressions that newcomers have are crucial in determining whether they will stop, learn more and ultimately, if they will buy.  Attendees at a trade show are going to make judgments about your company & products, based on your booth’s curb appeal (or lack thereof…) before they ever talk to you.

Here’s some familiar advice for increasing the curb appeal of a home, translated into ideas for success at your next face-to-face marketing event.

  • “Have a welcoming entryway” – Just as you want guests to feel welcome in your home, you want attendees to feel the same in your booth. Visitors are more likely to enter a warm, inviting environment. Adding greenery/ potted plants & having professionally dressed staff will help with visual appeal.  Also, as a general rule, you want at least 60% of the frontage open to avoid a perceived barrier to entry.
  • “Keep it bright” – Lighting along the outside of a house enhances architectural elements, adding a decorative touch.  Lighting in your booth ensures that your display is prominent & can be used to focus attention on specific messages.
  • “Put on a fresh coat of paint” – Sometimes, a new coat of paint can help a house that feels ordinary or dated.  Similarly, updated graphics could help to draw attention to your booth and better communicate your messaging.
  • “Cut back on clutter” – Having too much clutter in a house, or trade show booth, creates visual noise that distracts prospects & keeps them from focusing on the benefits you’re trying to convey.  Organize your literature & samples, and try to have at least 60% of the floor space unoccupied so your area won’t seem cramped.
  • “Keep it clean” – Dust & dirt in a home make potential buyers wary of other kinds of neglect in the property. When you keep the elements of your display clean, free of dust & visually appealing, the “take away” for attendees will be that your company knows how to handle the small details.

    A booth with curb appeal
    A booth with plenty of curb appeal
  •  “Be in a great neighborhood” – While most homeowners can’t choose where their property is located and can’t influence how neighbors maintain their homes, you-as an exhibitor-can select where your “real estate” will be. Opt for a booth space in a section of the hall that will have good traffic throughout the show. If you’ve been to this particular show before, choose to be near neighbors who do not have loud/distracting displays, and stay away from those who construct displays that will block attendees’ ability to see you when walking the aisles.
  • “Cut the grass” The ultimate tip for improving curb appeal is to keep the lawn in pristine condition. At a show, your choice of flooring and how well it is maintained will tell the client something about you. Choose a color/material that matches well with your graphics and pick something that’s comfortable to stand on. (Clean/vacuum the floor as needed.)

Focusing on these improvements before your next show could help boost the number of attendees that stop, and at the end of the day, the number of leads you walk away with.

We did our homework on curb appeal at the Advice section of Realtor.com.

What ideas do you have to impact the curb appeal of a trade show display?  We welcome your comments, below!

Trade Show Trends of 2013

Photo Courtesy of Troy Stover
Photo Courtesy of Troy Stover

Once a year, trade show professionals assemble in Las Vegas for the industry’s leading conference and exposition, Exhibitor. Professionals in the trade show business have the opportunity to attend seminars, touch base with current suppliers, learn about new products, network and look into the future of trade show marketing.

Our operations manager, Troy attended Exhibitor2013 this year and returned to the office with some fresh ideas. Based on his observations from the show floor, there are 4 major trends this year in the trade show world. 

  • Interactive technology: If you were looking for a keyboard at Exhibitor, you would have been disappointed, as there were none to be found. The importance of technology of the show has increased significantly due to both the rise of social media and advances in touch screen technology.  Touch screen technology is being integrated into the displays themselves by way of large screens, into the staffers conversations with potential clients with tablets, and throughout the attendees’ experience via mobile devices. This is no different with our clients. We recently created a display for biomedical waste company BioServ that included 2 iPad stands. One iPad station will be used to run an E-procurement demo, while the other station will run a virtual golf game.
  • Fabric graphics: Fabric graphics have become the preferred graphic medium of choice, thanks to the emergence of dye sublimation (or dye sub) printing. Dye sub provides display manufacturers the opportunity to produce a high quality graphic at a lower price. Dye sub graphics also save exhibitors a considerable amount of money on shipping and repair costs, since fabric is lightweight, easy to transport, very easy to clean and less vulnerable to irreparable damage.  We have seen many of our clients move towards using fabric in their displays, including Curbell Plastics and Softlips.
  • Creating an environment vs. fabricating a display: Exhibit designers are focusing their attention on creating an experience at an exhibitor’s booth.  Display professionals have been taking a more holistic approach to exhibit design and using every tool at their disposal to create an ambiance that both engages attendees and represents the exhibitor’s branding.
  • Relaxation of booth staff uniforms:  Companies are moving away from mandating that booth staff wear the traditional suit at the company booth. Many exhibitors are choosing more “inviting” attire that helps create the feeling that staffers are approachable.  Many exhibitors have a staff uniform that is reflective of both their industry and the brand itself. For example, attendees at high-tech shows are often dressed casually and the expectation is that booth staff will be dressed casually as well.

Just like every other marketing channel, the trade show industry is constantly changing in response to advances in technology, product development and improvement efforts, and shifts in marketing ideologies. The major trends for 2013 reflect changes that are aimed at increasing attendee engagement and creating an inviting experience for attendees universally.

10 Tips for a Successful Installation & Dismantle

TroyIDWhile the FBD2 team provides installation and dismantle services to some of our clients, many choose to brave the I & D process themselves. In the following article,  Jim Shelman of Classic Rental Division& Exhibits Northwest offers some great tips for a successful installation and dismantle. 

Planning ahead will save you time and money on your next setup. More often than not, preventable snags slow down installations on the show floor. Here’s a list of ten tips that will help avoid those common obstacles that can waste time and drive labor costs through the roof. As you’ll see, there’s a theme here — PLAN AHEAD . . . and you’ll probably come in under budget!

Successful I &D Tips
1.  Early communication with the lead on the I & D team by scheduling a call prior to the set-up to discuss the details & your expectations. And be sure to send set-up diagrams, booth orientation (direction), and graphic layout orientation ahead of time to reference. Exchange contact information in case something unexpected comes up, so that all parties involved know how to get a hold of each other.

2.  Be sure to arrange for the necessary tools and equipment (# of ladders and heights? genie lifts needed? banding tools and supplies for client pallets or equipment?).

3.  Send your I & D provider copies of your electrical order and a grid layout detailing the location (and specific power needs) for each drop. Again, be sure that the grid layout indicates the surrounding booth locations to ensure the booth is being oriented properly. TIP: 100 watt bulb = 1 amp; 1 monitor = 3 amps; count up light bulbs and monitors to confirm how many “amps” you need at each drop, based on the # of lights or electronics that will be drawing power from each drop!.

4.  Same thing with your flooring. Double-check to make sure your flooring has been scheduled for installation prior to your set-up. Be sure to send copies of your carpet and/or flooring order to your I & D company, so if there are delays at show site, they can act as the advocate on your behalf. Make sure the correct color is called out clearly on your order. Along the same lines, if you have a hanging sign, make sure the order is submitted to have it installed (w/ copies to your I & D company!).

5.  If possible, ask that your I & D company — the day before the set-up — check to see that the electrical and flooring has been installed correctly, and that your booth is clear of crates and show materials. This will help to ensure no costly wait time when your installation team begins setup the following morning.

6.  Print and email copies of line drawings, renderings, and staging photos of your exhibit design. Also include hard packets of this information in your exhibit cases/ crates, so there are plenty of copies for the I & D team to use.

7.  Do a good job of labeling every exhibit component, and be sure to check that everything corresponds with your set-up diagrams.

8.  Make notes and take photos to help describe any little tricks, tips, or special attention details for assembling any of the more complicated components. This will save a lot of time.

9.  Hold a brief meeting with the I & D team right before the setup begins to review your expectations for the day; show them your set-up diagrams and photos so they can visualize the finished product. And have a list prepared showing the proper order in which components should be built. This will prevent having to backtrack, wasting time and money.

10. If you find that a member of the I & D team just isn’t performing to your minimum standards, you have the right to request a change. Tell the I & D Lead that you need to replace that individual with someone more experienced. You’re paying a lot of money for this service, so it’s okay to expect everyone to be on-time, professional, and productive.

Shelman, Jim. “10 Tips for a Successful Installation & Dismantle | Trade Show Tales Blog – Classicexhibits.com.” Trade Show Tales Blog. Classic Exhibits, n.d.

Going Mobile on the Trade Show Floor

mobile
Photo Courtesy of http://www.npaworldwide.com

Over the past few years, smartphones and tablets have become an integral part of everyday life. Since mobile devices are portable and can access a great deal of information within seconds, they are a natural fit for use in the trade show environment. Here are some tips for using mobile technology to your advantage at a trade show.

  • Include a highly visible QR Code on your display. The QR code should take users to a landing page that is optimized for mobile devices. The landing page can be your company’s homepage, a contest entry form, a lead qualification form, etc.
  • Use an app to collect leads. There are several apps that make lead retrieval very simple, such as iLeads and DUB, that allow you to scan a business card and enter the contact information into either your phone contacts or a database. Using a lead retrieval app will save you the headache of keeping up with hundreds of pieces of paper and trying to decipher a potential lead’s handwriting. The leads can be sent directly from your phone or tablet to your office.
  • Schedule appointments with prospects using the calendar function on your phone or tablet. This saves both you and the prospect the time of attempting to connect after the trade show and guarantees a better chance that the meeting will take place.
  • Many trade shows have an app created for the event. Download this onto your mobile devices and continually check for updates, changes, itineraries and announcements.
  • Take photos using the smartphone’s camera and share them on your company’s social media platforms. Include your booth number to encourage your followers at the show to visit your exhibit.
  • Stream video from the event to the home office, attendees and clients who were unable to attend, using social media and/or videoconferencing.
  • Ask attendees to share their own photos and videos from your exhibit through social media. To encourage attendee contributions, design a contest for attendees who share their images and videos of your exhibit through social media.
  • Design a simple, interactive game to be played on a mobile device housed at your exhibit. A game is memorable and increases attendee engagement. The game should easy to play, fun, casual and tied directly to your value proposition.
  • Process credit card payments using a device like AprivaPay, which attaches to your smartphone or tablet and allows you to swipe the client’s credit card.

Exhibitors who learn to leverage mobile technology on the trade show floor will ensure that their trade show appearance goes smoothly, while also increasing engagement with the show attendees. This leads to a greater amount of leads generated at the show and less time spent on administrative tasks associated with post-trade show follow-up, which ultimately improves ROI (return on investment).

Davidʼs Notes

man

The  article below is an excerpt from the January newsletter of one of our suppliers, ExpoDisplays. David Holladay, President of ExpoDisplays offers some “back to basics” sales advice that reinforces how the sales team at FBD2 works with our clients. 

Back to the Basics

In the world of sales, things can tend to get complicated. As we strive to learn more and more about the sales profession, we constantly develop new strategies that make us better at what we do. Sometimes this can lead to getting so far “out there” that we can forget the basics. What better time than the start of a new year to remind ourselves about the “little things” that can get overlooked, causing us to lose sales or waste time? So here are a few that I have to remind myself about before I dive into the sales process with a prospect.

Donʼt Assume Anything. Start Anew Each Time

When that longtime customer comes to you for a solution, treat her like an exciting new prospect, not like an automatic repeat customer. Donʼt take her for granted. Donʼt fall into the world of “inside sales” or “order taking”. We often make the mistake of assuming that we understand what someone wants because weʼve worked with her for so long. But that may not be the case. Things may have changed in her world. And the competition is after her, promising new,exciting ideas and products. Take her for granted and you may be beaten by the competition.

Establish a Budget – Every Time

Throw out numbers early and often in the process. Donʼt make the mistake of doing a bunch of work and offering solutions that end up being “too much” at the end of the process. If that happens, you have to start over and you have wasted your time and hers. In the beginning and at each step in the process get an estimated dollar amount on the table and make sure that she says “ok” before you proceed.

Present to Decision Makers

How many times do we have to hear “Thanks for all of the work but the boss wouldnʼt approve it” before we learn that we HAVE to get the decision makers involved in the process. Most sales people will tell you that they were not able to get in front of the decision maker, but 90% of those sales people never even tried because they were scared to ask. Your prospect should understand that you are trying to help her get what SHE wants. And the best way to help her sell the idea/product to the decision maker is to get the decision maker involved early in the process. Otherwise, youʼll both do a bunch of work for nothing. Early in the sales process you need to ask the following question, “How will the decision making process work and who are the people that will be involved?” Now help her navigate that process so she can get what she wants.

Donʼt Present Too Early

The solution that you present should be the very last thing in the process. Before you design, quote or present something, you need to have all your bases covered. You should have addressed everything to the point that when you present, you are simply expecting a “yes” or “no” answer. You should already know the budget, how the purchasing process will work, who the decision makers are and what each is looking for. If you donʼt know those things, you donʼt need to present a solution.

Understand the “Why”

Speaking of presenting too early, do you have a good understanding of “why” the prospect is looking for this product? If you donʼt, then you are just an inside sales person or a “quoter” and a good sales person that asks good questions will take this business from you. Remember this saying; “Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.” You must diagnose (the “why”) before you prescribe (the “what”). Donʼt get caught up in just quoting products based on what your prospect asks for, like pop-ups or banner stands. When your prospect uses one of those terms, ask the question, “Pop-up? Sure I can help you. What led you to decide on a pop-up?” The answer that you get may make it crystal clear that a pop-up is NOT really what this person needs.

Profitable Selling,

David Holladay

Holladay, David. “David’s Notes.” ExpoNews (20 Jan. 2013): n. pag. Www.expodisplays.com. ExpoDisplays. Web.