8 Costly Trade Show Mistakes Most Exhibitors Make

trade show mistakes exhibitor booth errors

Smart business owners need to learn from other business owner’s mistakes. And such mistakes are common when planning a trade show exhibit where companies from a specific industry market their products and services. 

Many exhibitors give little attention to the small things when planning their trade shows. In most cases, these errors are related to booth design, booth staffing, and even choosing the right show to attend. 

This post will help you avoid common mistakes that exhibitors repeat time after time when they attend a trade show. Read on and learn more: 

1. Not Setting Specific Goals 

Now, this might appear odd, but many exhibitors make the mistake of not setting objectives at all before attending a trade show. Too often they lack a well-thought exhibiting goal as they’ve always attended trade shows. 

But without setting objectives, you have nothing to aim for and nothing to base your decisions on. Worst of all, there’s no way to measure your success. Goals can be collecting a set number of leads to call back or achieving a sales revenue target. 

2. Not Changing the Show Schedule 

Most exhibitors have their trade show schedule on auto-pilot and thus attend the same shows every year. But this denies them the opportunity to drive more income and business success through experimentation. 

Trade shows with a higher return on investment (ROI) are allocated more space than those with less ROI, which are eventually cut. Besides, new shows expose your products and services to new customers, which creates the platform to get fresh leads and customer feedback. 

3. No Appropriate Budget 

Having a small budget at a trade show is a huge mistake. Why? Because trade shows are known to have unexpected costs, as well as high late fees, in case deadlines are missed. 

Some exhibitors fail to allocate enough money  to properly represent their brand. Others fail to invest in booth staff training, promotions, graphics, and other measures that could boost their sales significantly. 

4. Choosing the Wrong Exhibit Company 

Many exhibitors don’t know what to look for when choosing design companies for trade shows. Exhibit rentals give companies a custom look without the long-term commitment of ownership. Choosing the wrong company can, therefore, be a costly mistake. 

Be sure to look at the legacy of various design companies as well as their reference and portfolio before choosing your preferred company. Remember a trade show is an excellent marketing opportunity if done well and a lot depends on the booth design. 

5. Selecting Wrong Booth Staffers 

When you choose booth employees  who’d rather not be there, they will reveal their displeasure through poor posture, inactivity, and complaints. Their poor attitude will drag down the motivation levels of other performing staff members. 

Bring along willing and committed employees who will bring a positive energy and will properly represent your firm. 

6. Not Using Promotions 

The use of promotions can be an excellent way to generate leads. 

To attract qualified attendees, offer promotions and giveaways that appeal to your target audience. We’ve also seen exhibitors hand over giveaways to attendees and then ignore them, instead of engaging them in a meaningful conversation that can generate qualified leads

7. Not Following Up 

Another costly mistake done by exhibitors is not following up on the leads. We understand that exhibitors come out of the show exhausted and find a lot of work that accumulated when they were away. Sometimes they can forget to send follow-up Emails to valuable leads - ignoring the core reason for attending the show in the first place! 

You should at least assign them to salespeople who will monitor them until they become an asset. It is advisable to plan your lead fulfillment before the start of the show so follow ups are smooth and quick. Categorize your leads at the trade with comments such as “warm”, “hot” or even “future,” so your sales team know who to call and when. 

8. Taking Wrong Metrics 

Many exhibitors come back from the show with lead counts which can help them plan the same show year after year. But sometimes, lead counts as well as other measurements (sales, awareness, meetings), don’t give a clear picture of the return on investment (ROI) or finance. 

Sometimes you can calculate the ROI for each trade show and find that the show that has most leads comes with a low closing rate or the average sale at a given show is higher but has the best ROI even if it has fewer sales.

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