10 common mistakes businesses make at exhibitions

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Exhibitions offer businesses an excellent opportunity to generate qualified leads. If done properly, the return on investment can be fantastic. The problem? The majority of businesses don’t have a clue and make plenty of mistakes. Even veterans don’t often know what they’re doing.

Don’t want to turn your foray into exhibitions into a one and done affair? Avoid these 10 most common mistakes and you’ll do better than 90% of businesses attending.

Going to Every Exhibition

When it comes to exhibitions, it’s definitely all about quality, not quantity. Pick exhibitions with your target audience in mind. If they’re unlikely to attend, the ROI is going to be atrocious.

Instead, think carefully about which exhibitions you want to attend. Do a little research. What types of companies will be going? Would your ideal customers be attracted to these brands, or would they hang out elsewhere? Exhibitions involve a lot of time and effort, so invest in the selection process.

Not Investing in Your Stand

We’re not huge fans of style over substance, but when it comes to exhibitions, it’s all about style. If you have a boring or cheap looking stand, people are going to walk right past you. For example, invest in high-quality pull-up banners and you’re far more likely to have someone stop at your stand.

Sending the Wrong Employees

Exhibitions need good sales people, period. If you send someone that doesn’t know the first thing about being personable and convincing, all of that time, effort, and money will be completely wasted.

Going to the Same Exhibitions

We’re creatures of habit. Businesses will get lazy and stick to regularity, going to the same exhibitions year in, year out. Now we’re not saying this is a bad thing. After all, if they’re still resulting in customers, why change things?

But that doesn’t mean you should just stick to the same lineup. Try to mix things up. There may be something you’re missing, an exhibition that will generate even more leads.

Not Keeping Things Simple

Businesses tend to overload their displays with far too much information. They’re like posters you see at academic conferences; far too much fluff, tiny text, complicated jargon, impossible to understand. You won’t get customers in this way. Spend some time designing visually attractive material and keep the text snappy.

Not Giving Away Swag

We get it. We’re all sick of tees that get ruined in the wash after a single wear, flash drives that never work, and pens that go straight into the trash. But there’s a reason companies keep using this strategy: it works incredibly well.

Data show that swag can lead to a 26% increase in response rate. It generally creates an 86% increase in brand favorability. The power of the cheap t-shirt, eh?

Thinking that Socializing = Networking

Exhibitions mean work during the day, parties at night. The nighttime is sometimes the more important part, as it’s where the networking often happens. People get to know each other better, we let our guard down, and friendships are made.

But don’t think that just because you’re out socializing, you’re networking effectively. Think about who you want to spend your time with, don’t make crass jokes, and try to keep alcohol consumption to a reasonable level. Be professional.

Standing Around

This is one we see businesses making all the time. They show up to an exhibition, attractive stand materials in tow and all they do is stand around. And yet they are surprised that absolutely no one approaches their stand.

You want to be actively friendly. Don’t be like an annoying waiter at a tourist hotspot, but try to have an open and welcoming feel to your stand. You’re ready to help, not sell with an in-your-face approach.

Ignoring Data and Systems

Exhibitions are not about just showing up and going from there. You want to have a sales process that you’ve worked on and practiced. Use data to your advantage, tracking what works in terms of lead generation. Tweak and adapt as necessary.

Adopt additional tools and measures for marketing such as social media, sponsors, email subscriptions, cold calls, answer queries, etc. You may also require resources to effectively implement these strategies. For instance, you can explore PhoneBurner or similar companies, which can provide services like multiple phone lines to contact businesses, call redirecting to an agent depending on the client’s request, and more.

Similar facilities for other marketing methods can analyze the stats and increase the business leads.

Giving Up Early

Our final and biggest mistake we see businesses making is that they throw in the towel far too early. They start off like excited puppies, but if the leads don’t come flowing in straight away, they give up, thinking exhibitions just don’t work for them.

This is a huge mistake. Almost every business, no matter what you do, can benefit from exhibitions. You just need to invest the right amount of effort into finding the recipe that works, the sweet spot that will give you the leads you’re looking for.

Don’t give up. Your competitors will. Stick around and you’ll see that exhibitions can still give you a fantastic ROI in 2022 and beyond.