Here’s good news about exhibitions, for a change!

Written by Susan Ratliff on September 5th, 2011. Posted in connecting face to face, get serious about exhibiting, industry news, marketing, Uncategorized, What's new

I think everyone is sick and tired of being sick and tired about the tradeshow industry.  I know I am ready for a new attitude. We are on the cusp of recovery or at least noticable improvement in the industry.  I know because my phones are ringing and people are spending money on new exhibits. People are calling me to help them with their tradeshow strategies and booth image.  My colleagues are budgeting for more shows and actually getting excited about the possiblilites of a successful year on the show floor.  Budgets for marketing are getting fatter and tradeshows are near the top of the list.  There are some good statistics circulating by the major industry researchers that should make us smile. You can get encouraged by reading some of the findings at

Here’s a few of the findings: The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) announced that preliminary data collected for the fourth quarter of 2010 revealed an increase of 5.4 percent over 2009 for attendees. They say the positive trend of attendees actually began in the third quarter of 2010 with a 6.6 percent increase over the third quarter of 2009.
They also released a report that shows the overall exhibition industry gained 2.4 percent during the first half of 2011.  That is finally something we can get a little encouraged by.

What can you do to speed up the recovery and get us back to the heyday when prospects and profits were overflowing?  You can get out there and attend the shows again, sign up for a booth, launch a new service, introduce a new product, sponsor an event, have a party or book a hospitality suite. Bring your staff to the show and make it a bonding experience.  Take advantage of the educational offerings and attend the classes.  Be present for the recovery.  Contribute to the rise.  See you there.

Get serious about exhibiting

Written by Susan Ratliff on June 28th, 2008. Posted in get serious about exhibiting

Last week I exhibited in a business to business expo put on by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.  This is an annual event that is held at a fancy hotel.  In a period of four hours an exhibitor can connect with over 1000 people coming by their booth.  Where else can a company get a shot at that many people in that short of a time frame?  Let’s face it, a salesperson can only drive around town and call on about 5-7 prospects during a workday, so you’d think that they would be thrilled to have access to 1000 people in four hours, right?  What kills me is how so many companies that pay for an exhibit booth show up unprepared to do business and staff the exhibit with disinterested employees.  The usually assumption is why am I pulled out of the field to do this stupid tradeshow?  Reread the information above.  It is safe to assume that 99% of everybody coming through the doors for the tradeshow will pass by your booth at least once.  Most attendees, in a show as small as that one (100-150 exhibits) will actually go around several times.  The first time will be to scope everyone out and register for the give-aways. The second time will be to go back to the companies they want to inquire about or do business with.  That’s alot of opportunity to make connections, brand yourself, get leads, sell something.  I know what you’re thinking:  How many of those 1000 people are actually interested or qualified to buy what I’m selling? Good question, but it really does not matter.  Unless you are in a retail selling show you aren’t coming away with a sale.  True in the case of the Chamber show. It’s a non-selling show.  You already know that so lead generation should be your number one goal.  Talk to one in every three people coming by and you can qualify them and determine whether to capture their contact information for followup later.  If you are smart you could bring along your appointment book and make the appointment to meet with them later, eliminating the follow up call altogether.  Don’t forget the other benefits.  One thousand people see your booth, marketing message and company name.  That’s what you get when you put an ad in the newspaper right?  You also get face to face time so your company is humanized.  Name to face action.  If they like you they will do business with you.  Attendees make an immediate judgement about your business when they look at your display too.  Those who came to the show with wrinkled vinyl banners or hand-lettered signs make a different impression than those with targeted messages, professional displays, colorful printed graphics in a neatly designed space.  Don’t forget about all the people those 1000 prospects know.  Statistics prove that attendees will tell 4-6 other people about what they saw at a show.  If you are a prominent force in your industry and your booth looks like you didn’t give a d—- then that is the image that will be relayed.  Conversly, a small business can be perceived as much stronger, bigger, successful than it actually is by having an impressive presence at a tradeshow.  That is the image that will circulate around about you.  Image is everything at a show.  Same thing with the representatives at the booth.  80% of attendees base their opinion of your company on the actions of your employees at the booth. Enough said.

P.S.  Never break down before the show closes (unless you don’t want to ever exhibit in that show again) Leaving early is disrespectful to the attendees and other exhibitors and against the rules of your exhibitor contract.  Learn how to make the show work for you and you’ll wish you could stay longer. 

For a list of upcoming Arizona tradehshows you migh want to exhibit in go to, click on the extensive resources link and look for the new shows link.  The Maricopa county home and garden show is coming August 1st. as well as the Scottsdale Chambers Showcase on September 4th.   Maybe I’ll see you there.