How to win my business – tips for the trade exhibitors!

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I guess I’m an odd person to figure if you read my blog, one minute I’m talking about newroomsonline, the next event management and then my pre-occupation with design in general…oh…and another thing! Where’s the consistency?? It’s not often the two areas collide.

It’s been a week of bedlam to say the least what with tenders and trade fairs…this last week and for the next few it’s trade fair central and you sit and tear your hair out thinking you should attend all and then gauge the feasibility of planning such a draining move. The fear is that you miss something, the next big thing, if you don’t attend….and when you go to one and don’t find it, you’re then obliged to attend the next as it’s bound to be there.

The reality though is, face it, it’s not a cheap exercise, it’s not the financial outlay so much as the time restraints. Plus you trek round and round going blind with choice and I truly question the merit of attending all as a result. Trade fair fatigue kicks in faster with every show.

My biggest complaint of the last few years, borne out of a career in event managemnet, has been the dreadful layout of some of the fairs. We don’t sell greetings cards, we don’t sell smelly candles, we don’t sell many of the groups of products from which you can choose yet there has been a tendence to just chuck any supplier anywhere on the floor. For me the best use of my time and I’m sure countless other visitors, would be to be able to cut a vast swathe through half the exhibitions knowing I’m not missing anything……so stick all the different gift sectors together. At the major fairs this happens as a matter of course, and I have to say ten out of ten to the two this last week but others are still making life unnecessarily wearing!

My next beef has to be the heartbreaking lack of planning by some exhibitors. I know from first hand experience how hard it is to endlessly try and sell your wares, engage a potential customer, be rejected and have to do it all again and still come out smiling (God knows we all watch Dancing on Ice and empathise with the constant rejection (or do we?))….maybe hundreds of times over but wise up people – how much did you pay for that stand?

How much is it costing to stay in London, Harrogate, Scotland, Frankfurt, Barcelona or Paris?

And yet you ignore the person on the stand, you make no attempt to introduce yourself, to tell the story of your product (people like the story behind the idea and how you brought it to market. Why do you think the Dragon’s Den is so popular?) and worst of all – you provide no aide memoire!!! There’s no picture, no catalogue, no price list and you have to drag information out of people…..I haven’t got the time for that! My top of the list of worst ways to handle a customer enquiry….I was told to log on to someone’s website and request the info myself. The guy had my business card, my email – the way round is this – you want me to sell your product then you do the running to get my business, from thereon in it’s my funeral. So, nice product, but I won’t be buying from you. If you can’t make the effort to bring the info to the show or to send it to me without being spoon fed into the activity, what else won’t you do? Chase up breakages? Send me my stock on time? Remember to send the outstanding balance of missing goods?

All these things sell you to me! Anyway I’m tired, exhausted and probably a bit grouchy – sorry! I liked your stuff but meet me half way!

The trade fair organisers are missing a trick too, maybe in addition to seminars and masterclasses for retailers, there’s an opening for a masterclass in how to encourage exhibitors to engage with customers!

That’s me over and out!

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