If you want sales at Buy Yorkshire then the best advice is don’t sell

Exhibitions can be a tricky business, after all it’s a difficult balance between attracting attention, educating the audience and coming across as if you’re giving a hard sell. When you take a step back and think about it, the latter is rarely the best approach when you want to encourage someone to purchase your products.

The challenge is often that people don’t realise that exhibitions, like so many opportunities in business, are best used to create relationships that turn more organically into sales over time. Jumping on people as they come past or thrusting marketing materials into their hands probably won’t create the right impression.

Here are some hints and tips to get you started. Everyone is different, but these should give you some suggestions about what you could do to create an impressive stand that will have people asking you the questions you want them to ask.

Attracting attention

Having a bright, colourful and welcoming stand is absolutely essential if you are to entice people to come to speak to you. Rather than bombarding people with too many messages, try to stick to three key points. It may be something that makes you different or simply puts across what you do.

Also remember that if you are sitting down people can often find it difficult to see the bottom of your stand. As such, don’t put information at the bottom of your graphics as it will get lost. Keep the copy clear, simple and concise for the best outcomes.

Delegates will often have a wander around the stands before coming back and visiting those that are of most interest, so give your brand the best chance possible of attracting the right attention. Make sure people know exactly what you do with clear messaging and relevant imagery.

Adding some personality

We say it all of the time: people buy people, which means that adding some personality is no bad thing. Consider the tone of voice that you want to use and how you would like to come across. Being quirky – as long as it’s authentic – can be the difference between you making an impression and getting lost in the ‘noise’ of a busy event.

You don’t want to be a ‘me too’ so think about what you can do to stand out from the crowd.

Your time to shine

Consider your stand to be your very own stage. Stand up and smile. Don’t sit and stare at a phone screen, no one is going to approach you if you give off the impression that you would rather be anywhere else.

If you want to entice people into the stand then why not have a bowl of sweets on a table top. Offer people a chew or small packet to enjoy while they chat. It’s amazing how the offer of some sweet treats can stop someone from walking past and instead give you the chance to say hello.

It’s all about the business cards

Taking a stack of business cards from an event could be a measure of success but what’s more important is what you do with them. If you’re going to stick the cards you’ve collected into your top drawer and forget all about them then you have to ask yourself why you bothered.

Although it takes time, there is no harm in calling people shortly after the event to ask them if they would like you to send across a brochure or to arrange a coffee giving you the perfect chance to educate them further about your products and services. If the answer’s a yes, give the recipient chance to digest the information shared and give them a quick call to ask whether they have any questions. Remember, whilst a certain amount of persistence is key, pushy is off-putting.

It’s a two-way thing

When it comes to following up, it’s important to acknowledge that the other person will want to talk about their business too. This isn’t a one-way conversation and if you are going to get to know someone then you need to ask them questions too.

Have a couple of questions in mind before the event that will give you the chance to get to know those that come to your stand better and take an interest in what they are telling you. There is nothing worse than being sold at, so make sure you are engaged and listening to what they are telling you.

Make your merchandise matter

Depending on budgets, merchandise can be a great way to leave a lasting impression, especially when you are offering items that are of use longer-term. Pads, pens, sweets and mints are often favourites at exhibitions but there’s nothing to stop you from doing something different to stand out from the crowd.

Branded items are often a preference as they give a prospective customer a further chance to see your branding and this often then prompts them to remember who you are and what you do. Bags for life have become a firm favourite too as they are used more now than ever before and what better way to showcase your branding long after the event?

It’s all in the timing

There are few things that look less organised than people who turn up to exhibitions late. It’s not just about the wasted chances to meet with delegates but also about the general impression that this gives. If you can’t be bothered to set up your stand in good time then people are bound to ask how reliable you are.

Make sure that you fill in all necessary paperwork, that you get to the venue in good time and that you make the very best first impression that you can. It will make all the difference.

Choose your events carefully

As the largest business to business event in the North of England, attracting upwards of 4,000 delegates, the Buy Yorkshire Conference has grown, changed and evolved year on year. This all helps to keep those attending interested, engaged and involved.

Although it would be fair to say that we are biased, we do know that from feedback people enjoy the Conference and appreciate that locally it is unrivalled in terms of the speaker line-up, schedule of seminars, workshops on offer and the opportunity to listen, learn and meet with others.

We look forward to welcoming you to an event that is less about the sell and more about a showcase of talents, skills, products and services, which in turn can be used as a platform to develop longer-term relationships to positively benefit your business.