Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail!


Fairs, fetes, festivals, whatever you want to call them, can offer you a great opportunity to sell your products and meet potential customers. However, if you don’t prepare and grasp the opportunity with both hands, you may find yourself wishing you hadn’t bothered.

Quality is better than quantity

Attending every single event may seem like a good idea but they won’t all be relevant or beneficial to your business. Also, some trade shows charge for a stand meaning it could be an expensive year in exhibiting fees. Use websites such as Stall finder and UK Crafts Fair to research and plan for upcoming events making sure the fairs you attend will be worthwhile.

If the information is not readily available, find out from the event organiser:

  • Other exhibitors – Is it a B2B or a B2C event and who else is exhibiting? This will give you a feel for what kind of event it is and what their target audience may be.
  • How much space and what’s provided with the stand – Find out if there’s room for promotional materials such as a banner stand. Also, are you provided with a table? Imagine turning up to an event and not having a table! Awkward.
  • How many people are they expecting to attend – The last thing you want is to run out of stock and business cards when the visitor flow is going well?

Plan, Prepare and Promote

“He who fails to plan, plans to fail” are very wise words from Winston Churchill.

Plan to have the right look and feel to your stand. Consider it as your shop window and make customers want to come and look at your products by choosing the correct signage, posters and products to display to boost the image you want to create.

Prepare by setting your stall up beforehand and try different ways of laying it out. Think about how to present products. Walk alongside the stall like a customer and make sure they will see what you see, both up close and from a distance. How can you add that special and touch? For example, if you’re selling jewellery, think about taking a mirror for customers to use when trying out your products.

You may want capture customer details through a generous but short term offer or competition. Plan the amount of data you need to capture such as a name and email address. This data can be used to follow up leads and the customers can be part of your continued marketing campaign.

Trade shows can be a lot of work and if you’re able to get friends or family members to help out on the day, make sure they understand your business and the objectives of the trade show.

Once you’re happy with your stand, don’t forget to tell people you’re going to be there! Promote that you’re an exhibitor through your website, social media and newsletters.

On the day

The day’s arrived and you’re all prepared to go! The majority of customers will spot something they like and naturally approach your stand; some customers on the other hand can be harder to engage. Smile and make eye contact, making them feel welcome to view your items. Many opportunities are missed to engage with customers when exhibiting at a trade show, some of these can be avoided by not:

  • Leaving your stand unstaffed.
  • Having your back to visitors
  • Eating on your stand
  • Looking bored
  • Doing it all on your own

After the event take some time to reflect and discuss with your team what worked and what could be improved for next time. Develop a strategy to follow up leads and any customer details collected at the event.

Have you exhibited at a trade show before and got some handy tips? Let us know!


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