Real Solutions - How to get the most from a show

With the trade show season beckoning, we asked four industry figures to give us their tips on how to get the most from exhibiting at a show, starting with pre-show publicity

NURSERYMAN

"Do your research. Different shows have different demographic profiles, knowing your target market should influence the theme and content of your stand.

"It sounds obvious, but make your stand as inviting as possible. Avoid cramming every bit of available space with products and paraphernalia and leave sufficient area for visitors to stand or sit.

"Your stand should communicate quickly and clearly who you are, where you are and what you do. Finally, plan and review any/all the trade shows you attend."

Brian Fraser, general manager, Oakover Nurseries

SHOW JUDGE

"Trade stands have to be immaculate. I've seen stands supposedly ready for judging yet with spilt compost on the carpet, plant labels fallen over and even a poster upside down.

"If you're entering new product or plant awards, my most important piece of advice is to follow the rules properly. If two entries receive equal votes but one fulfils the criteria perfectly and the other doesn't, it'll be the first that gets the prize.

"Most confusion seems to arise over product categories. Decide which to go for and on the entry form state clearly why it should be this and not the other."

Graham Clarke, director, HHPS, and Trade Show competition

ADJUDICATOR

Nurseryman

"I would say that novelty and quality are the most important factors. Quality should be a given, so novelty is the one that catches people. It doesn't necessarily have to be a new plant - it could be a rarity or a revival.

"The other big thing is attention to detail. Don't eat your sandwiches or send a text on the stand, don't turn your back to the crowd and don't talk to your stand mates when customers are about. Face them, look them in the eye and smile.

"The usual old stuff really. Why it is often ignored beats me."

Bill Godfrey, W Godfrey & Sons

SHOW DIRECTOR

"The main thing is taking advantage of pre-show marketing and publicity opportunities. Too few people do this.

"We offer the chance to feature in newsletters at no extra cost - organisers can do a lot for you in the lead up to the show.

"Also, prepare your show catalogue entry thoroughly with product details rather than information about the company.

"We get a lot of leads coming into the office but if your entry is not product specific we can't help. And don't forget to invite your customers to the show."

Pat Coutts, Director, Four Oaks Trade Show


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