Veni, vidi, vici was my school motto, and coincidentally, the anglicised version - I came, I saw, I conquered - was used as a motivational motto by a well-known travel company I worked for when we went to travel exhibitions. We received specific training which revolved around how to behave on stand and attract potential customers in – which we then went on to ignore because we were all 21 years old, were too shy, or embarrassed, or bored, or totally knew better.
We all did the exact same things that tell me now that an exhibitor is going to have a bad show, because no one will want to visit their stand no matter how attractive it is. I’m no expert, I can’t tell you which marketing postures, buzzwords, perfumes or ties will help bring the customers in – I simply have many years of experience as a visitor, and I know what puts me, and others, off - especially when I have money to spend.
Let’s assume that the organisers have done their part and attracted the right visitors in, and that the exhibitors have brought the right products, acquired the right position and come up with the right stand design. This all costs a great deal of time and money by all parties. And yet all this investment is so often let down because the people on stand are sending out negative leave-me-alone vibes.
We’ve all seen them – a small booth with one person sitting at the table munching a sandwich and staring intently at their laptop. Or a bigger stand with two representatives chatting together with their arms folded and eyes pointed at each other – they may even have their bodies angled away from the aisles and towards the back of the stand. Or on the enormous stands, maybe there are several personnel lurking, but they’re all staring surreptitiously at their mobile phones, focussing on that chat about the football they have going on. Or maybe they’re all huddled around the coffee station chatting away about the antics in the bar last night.
Unless a visitor knows someone on the stand personally, they won’t make a visit if everyone appears busy. Which of course can’t be helped if the stand really is that busy. Or maybe they can’t tell whether those two people chatting together are two staff members, or staff and visitor, may be too polite to interrupt and find out. When I go to trade shows, I often talk to one exhibitor who is having a marvellous show, and find that the very next stand is having a terrible show, and staff motivation, or lack thereof, is more often than not, the reason why.
Chillventa is just around the corner, and ACR News will be there – in fact we have a stand again in Hall 6, stand 202. I don’t know if we’ll get it right either, but do drop by because we’ll give it a jolly good try.
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