How to give your exhibition stand presence

How to give your exhibition stand presence.

You’ve seen those exhibitions where smartly suited people are sitting behind their stand talking amongst themselves on their phone so not engaging with anyone.  They will go home thinking the exhibition was a waste of time and money!

Or the stands where the exhibitors have wide smiles and  outstretched arms asking “Can I help you?”  Your obvious answer is “No, thanks” and scuttle on as you don’t know what they do or what to ask for.   They will wonder what they did wrong!

Your average Sales or Marketing Manager will make sure you are present – the stand is booked in a good position, staff are on the rota to cover the opening times, the stand and marketing materials are all present and correct.

The Superhero Sales Manager will make sure your exhibition stand has presence – everyone talking about it, the stand everyone wants to visit, gets press coverage and brings back new leads, new business, new investors and lots of new interest.

So how do Superhero Sales Managers do that:

Here are 3 of the many ways to give your exhibition stand presence: 

1.      Don’t try and sell anything.

2.      Give something valuable in return for a visitor’s business card

3.      Make your stand an interactive experience


1.      Don’t try and sell anything.

Don’t expect or try to sell anything immediately. You are there to build a relationship first and foremost so spend time engaging with your visitors, finding out more about them. Have some form of short survey to gain valuable market information, have something free to give them that tells them more about you, your services and your products.    Make sure any freebies relate to your products or services. Too many people have something to give away that is just a waste of money as it is not relevant to your business nor is it memorable.

However, make it easy for your visitors to buy should they choose to by having special offers for the exhibition only as some people buy on impulse if you have explained your products and serivces well.  (There is a different mind-set  between selling something and enabling a visitor to buy something and that difference could cost you the sale!)

  • What questions could you use to engage and draw visitors in?
  • If you choose to have a free gift, what does it say about you? And what benefits does it give your visitor?
  • Plan special offers to give on the day.


2.      Give something valuable in return for a visitor’s business card

Adding new names to your database is a key objective of being at an exhibition but visitors are more reluctant to give away their details these days for fear of being bombarded with irrelevant emails. So you have to make the give-away prize or prize draw something really special.

I have given away Break-through VIP coaching days in a Spa in the past or an experience of being Superman in a wind tunnel, part of my Superhero Sales Manager Challenge programme, anyway.  They are each worth £1000 and my target market are busy Sales managers that either are in need of relaxation or craving new adrenalin rushes!  Relevant prospects are prepared to exchange their business cards for the chance to win either of these.

  • How will you encourage and reward visitors for giving you their contact details?


3.      Make your stand an interactive experience

In order to engage with your visitors, you want them to spend time with you on your stand, so give them something to do while they are there.

Have some kind of game or competition that engages people and gives them a reason to visit your stand, tell others about it, and return for another go later.

I recently helped a fashion retailer plan her stand at a big exhibition.  One of her key selling points was fashionable clothes at a low cost. So the obvious thing to do was to dress a mannequin in a full outfit and have the visitors guess the price of the outfit by writing it on their business card and putting it into a draw.

Not only did they collect more business cards, they raised awareness and surprise at how affordable their clothes were.  They also had people returning to the stand to find out the answer, the winner and what the next outfit would be like.

  • What is your key selling point?
  • How can visitors have an experience or an insight of what you do in a few minutes on your stand?

I have all sorts of activities planned for my stand SD220 at Sales Management & Performance, happening at ExCeL, London on June 6/7Book it in your diary and come and find out what they are!