6 Big Mistakes that can lead to bad exhibition experience


The only place where you can meet your clients face to face are trade shows. You can love them or hate them, but it is the only place where you can discover new clients. These clients are people who are both interested and have the time to listen to you. You may try different marketing and sales activity but nothing other than trade shows will allow you to do so.

You may be good at business but might not be a trade show expert. Each show takes a lot of time, money and effort. So, if you don’t get the most out of it, it will be a waste of time and money.

So, let me tell a few trade show mistakes as a trade show rookie you will do which will cripple your success.

1. Not Prepared

Do you think that you can simply show up at your trade show booth on the event day and expect to generate new business? Let me tell you that you are absolutely wrong.

Preparing for a trade show requires a lot of thinking and efforts. How long do you think it will take to prepare for a trade show? One or two weeks? A month?

Stop right there because you are wrong again.

You need to start planning and working on your trade show at least three months ahead, 6 to 9 months if you can. Planning well in advance will give you time to think about all the aspects you need to get a good positive return on investment.

Make a checklist of all the things that need to be done at the beginning of the planning process. You have about a billion thing to think about: Booth location, booth décor, furniture, hotels, travel, lightings, giveaways, follow up strategy and the list goes on and on. Do you really think you will be able to do all these within a month? Not a chance.

2. No Social Media

It’s 2019, Google, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other social media are your best friends. If you do not promote your trade shows in social media accounts, you are serious trouble.

Did I hear you ask me why? Its because your competitors are. Since they promoting using social media, they are building a following and letting their fans when and where to find them.

They will also be calling themselves the experts in your field. If they are the experts, what does it make you?

3. Overspending

You will most probably be on top of your personal expenses. You know yourself, your habits and you should be able to predict your expenses and income.

But can you say the same when it comes to a trade show? Are you budgeting all the expenses coming from all the elements mentioned above?

Let me tell you that booth rental represents only about 5% of your total expense of the trade show. If you do not budget exactly, you would lack visibility and end up overspending.

The first step before confirming your participation in a trade show is to budget your future expenses and also you should estimate the viability of your project.

4. Wasting Time

At every stage of the event, you waste time.

While planning you waste time. You are reinventing anything. It’s better to stick with the existing check and do it step by step.

You waste time during the show. Your only duty is to talk to visitors and potential clients. Do not waste time by chit-chatting with low-potential visitors. Also, you are not there to do admin work. So instead of taking notes with pen and paper, go digital and upgrade strategy.

After the show also you waste by reading notes and business cards so that you can convert them into an excel sheet. But all these should have been digital since day one.

5. Not Following Up

80% of the leads that are captured during the trade show are never followed up. This will have a direct consequence of poor lead capture and planning.

If you follow your leads after 10 days after the event, you are just wasting time. An average visitor will talk to tens of exhibitors, visit hundreds of trade show booths and look at least thousands of products. What is your chance that he will remember you after 10 days after the event?

You should be fast. Follow up your potential leads within 48hrs after the event. If you have a follow-up strategy in place even before the start of the event, it will be easier.

For example, you can pre-write your emails so that you can just customize them before sending.

Also, do not use a generic email, use a customized email.

6. Not Tracking your Results

Would you spend a few thousand dollars in AdWords campaigns and never track your results?

Would you spend tons of money on making and promoting a video and never track its impact?

But you have a problem tracking the results of an event for which you spend an even bigger budget and countless hours of work.

Cost per lead, total investment, total leads captured, conversion rate, gross revenue, return in investment are a bit difficult to track at a trade show than via online campaigning platforms. But using the right discipline these figures can be tracked.

You should set individual targets for your team members, track results, set up debriefing meetings after the event, 3 months and review the results. These are the only means to track your results.

In conclusion

If you are doing all these, you are set!

Congrats you are one of the few people who know their strategy. But if you don’t, it’s never too late. Stop whatever you have planned before. Because its time to start from scratch. Begin your planning, budgeting and managing your events in the right way starting today.

These will increase your results drastically. Trade shows can be an exciting and a great way to explore your marketing opportunities and it takes is a few disciplines to make things happen.