A fresh new year

Written by Susan Ratliff on February 10th, 2008. Posted in Uncategorized

It’s been a while since I last wrote. I have been decompressing from another successful Women Entrepreneurs’ Small Business Boot Camp.  Our 4th event was a fun celebration and tons of educational options for over 250 women micro-business owners in Scottsdale Arizona.  Check out pictures and info at www.womensbusinessbootcamp.com.  If you’d like to hear some of the great speakers that were featured you can sign up for Boot Camp On-Line.  Details are on the site.

As I said, it’s a fresh new year.  When it comes to exhibiting, that means you have a great opportunity to set the tone for success by changing bad habits.  You probably already have your next six months exhibit schedule confirmed.  I hope you and your staff have emptied out all your display cases, set up your booth materials and given them a good looking over.  There is nothing worse than getting to a show and finding out that the person who packed up  the show last November forgot to tell you they broke the (fill in the blank)  It happens all the time.  I get plenty of calls this time of year from frantic customers during their set up.  The lights were not in the case, the pop up frame is broken, can I send out an extra part?  It is also a great opportunity to introduce new booth staff to the display.  I know it might be costly to set up a larger exhibit, but your exhibit house might offer a yearly maintanance check that you can observe.  Let your new staff provide fresh eyes.  What about a new image this year?  Do the graphics  still reflect your company goals and current marketing messages?  Don’t wait. Pull out the exhibit today and check over every inch.  This small step will save you countless hours of aggrevation in the near future.

Let me know if I can help with some new ideas to stimulate your creative juices.


End of Year Checklist

Written by Susan Ratliff on December 20th, 2007. Posted in Uncategorized

As we wrap up 2007 this is a good time to look back at what we did right and what we did wrong at our tradeshows and consumer show events.   Through this analysis we can make a plan to generate more leads and make more sales in the months to come.   Take a look at my suggested checklist and comments and let me know if I can help with some ideas that will put more punch in your presentation.

1.  Preparation:  Are you a last minute marketer?  If you want to save money and avoid headaches as an exhibitor you have to plan ahead.  Book your space early so you can get a good corner location.  Prep your exhibit and freshen up your graphics well in advance.  Order services (electricity, decorations, carpet etc)  early to get the discounts.  Ship advance to the warehouse so you know when your exhibit will arrive. This way it will be in your space when you get there or your labor won’t be waiting for hours while your cases are on the dock waiting for a fork lift.

2.  Set some goals:  What do you want to accomplish?  Close sales, get leads, demonstrate a new product, take a survey, court the media?  Make a plan and be sure the booth staff buys in and is accountable for the results. 

3.  Get your Marketing plan in place.  This means decide on your theme and the sales messages.  What is your hook?  What do you need to do at the booth to accomplish the goals you listed?  When you determine that, then coordiate everything around the goal.  The graphics, the collateral, the sales pitch, the give-a-ways must be planned out with the end result in mind.

4.  Train the staff:  You time and money will be totally wasted unless the staff understands what the goals are, has incentives to accomplish them, has consecquenses if they don’t and is trained how to get there.  Bring the team in on the planning. Brainstorm the sales message. Script a succinct, 30 second presentation to get a lead or close a sale.  Prepare a list of the most common customer objections and craft the rebuttals.  Require consistency from the staff and ask them to memorize the presentation.

5.  Follow up:  Exhibit Experts rents displays.  I have been surprised more than once, to find the clients lead box full of leads shipped back in their case to me.  Everyone thought everyone else had them.  Don’t wait more than a few days to call, email or snail mail a follow-up proposal. 

Use these five ideas to start you own list with your team.  I’d love to hear what you have to say.  Be safe out there and have a wonderful holiday.


Great tradeshow coming

Written by Susan Ratliff on November 29th, 2007. Posted in Uncategorized

The Phoenix Chamber holds several shows a year and the next one is coming up on Monday December 3rd at the Biltmore Resort.  There should be about 125 exhibitors (be sure to stop by my booth for Exhibit Experts and introduce yourself).  The event starts at noon then at 5 pm the Chamber mixer begins.  Lots of food and plenty of networking.  Not to be missed.  This is a great opportunity to see what a nicely run, business expo looks like.  They do a good job and pull several thousand attendees.  It’s the perfect opportunity to find new business services and see who supports the Chamber.  I hope to see you there.


Is Exhibiting in a show worth it?

Written by Susan Ratliff on November 17th, 2007. Posted in Uncategorized

The Center for Exhibition industry research compiles some pretty impressive statistics that convince me that exhibiting in trade and consumer shows is one of the most cost effective ways to market your business.  After reading their findings below I am sure you’ll agree.

And if you don’t agree, let me know why.  Maybe I can analyze why your experience did not produce results.




There are 10,000 tradeshows and 3000 consumer shows a year

Attended by 100 million people who spend 120 billion dollars


Who attends tradeshows?


36% are first time attendees

78% have buying influence

38% are the final decision makers

81% are looking for new products and services

79% have not been contacted by your company in the last 12 months


What do they do at the show?

76% arrive with an agenda

83% buy something

43% Will buy something within 12 months

77% Will select a new supplier or vendo

94% will compare competing products

66%  come to network

87% will share what they learned with 4-6 other people


Welcome to the First Post at Bling my Booth

Written by Susan Ratliff on November 7th, 2007. Posted in Uncategorized

If you are ready to get down and dirty with what’s going to make you money when you exhibit, then you’ve come to the right place. Whether you are in a business expo, a craft fair, a recruiting show or consumer selling, event image is everything.  Unfortunately it won’t matter much if you don’t execute. 

It amazes me how much money companies waste throughout the entire exhibit planning process and how much opportunity is lost at the booth when the staff is not prepared or held accountable for their productivity.  How about a little planning ahead people. 

Thousands of dollars can be saved by reading the exhibitor kit the moment you get it.  Attention to details is the key to savings.  Don’t wait until the last minute to inventory your existing display for problems.  Order your graphics early.  Ship advance to the warehouse to avoid hassles with I&D. 

I’m going to keep it short and encourage your questions and comments about what bugs you about the tradeshow business.  I will elaborate more on how to stand out from the crowd and keep expenses down.  In the mean time take a look at the attached flyer offering 20 Tips to Trick Out Your Tradeshow Booth or Customize Your Consumer Show Exhibit.