Here we continue our series of advice to help you maximise the benefit of any show whilst simultaneously surviving the ordeal.

4) Convert conversations into connections

If a visitor has paused to look at an exhibit or graphic element of the booth, your second challenge is to convert this into a willing conversation where they learn more about your business and brand. The key term here is “willing”.

You need to give an extremely brief pitch (literally 30 seconds) based upon your key messages that explains who you are, what you do and why you’re worth speaking to further. Then stop selling and start listening. Aim to ask at least twice as many questions as you answer and pay attention to the responses. People can detect a prepared pitch when they hear it and respond far better to “human” conversation. Use branded give-aways and printed collateral (brochures, sell sheets) to make the conversation memorable and if appropriate offer some refreshment, a comfortable seat or a further appointment opportunity to continue the discussion. And always offer your business card – you never know where they may end up.

5) Choose carpet or comfortable shoes

This sounds a little irrelevant but without taking this advice I’d challenge you to be as personable and convincing at the end of the day as you were at the start. If you specify hardwood flooring for your stand it will look good and be easy to clean but can make a 10 hour day on the show floor into an ordeal for your staff. Carpet is far more forgiving of uncomfortable footwear and it won’t take long for you to really notice the difference.

If it doesn’t fit the design there is an alternative – next time you’re at a large motor show, take note of how many OEMs have had their stand staff swap business shoes for training shoes.

6) Focus on customers rather than competitors

Let’s be clear – these are public events for public consumption so you must be happy with any competitor seeing your content. If not then either don’t bring it or put it in a location that is accessible by invitation only. With this done, be professional and welcoming to your competitors as anything else will simply drain your energy and divert you from your customer objectives.

I have lost count of the number of show stands I have been rudely asked to leave when sales teams spotted my rival exhibitor badge and it invariably achieves nothing. Focus on winning customers rather than antagonising competitors; your professional approach will be remembered and the event less stressful.

In the next instalment we’ll talk about stamina and measurement!

(Go to part one)