Greg Lennox, of RAL Display, discusses what you can do when you have no choice but to attempt an exhibition or trade show alone.
It’s no secret that exhibitions are fantastic marketing, even if they are exhausting. This is just one reason why it’s best to tackle them as part of a team. If you send a team to an expo, as well as being able to draw from a diverse range of talents and personalities, you’ll also be able to take it in turns to man your stand.
Those not holding the fort can network, of course. But more importantly, they can also take regular breaks, helping you all to be at your best all day. But sometimes you’ll have no choice but to attempt an expo alone, and in this post, I’ll offer some tips and advice if you are going at it alone.
Maybe it’s so far away that your business cannot afford to send a full team. Or maybe everyone else is too tied up in other projects, and you’re the only one who can spare the time to attend. Or perhaps you’re the only sales rep in a small business.
In any case, there will be times when you’ll be forced to go solo. It’s not ideal, but it’s no cause for concern. Here’s how you can still make the best of the day, even when you’ve got no team to back you up.
Go Minimal on Your Stand
You won’t be able to bring an elaborate exhibition stand, because there’ll be no one to help you to carry it, assemble it, and disassemble it at the end of the day.
So, go minimal. Go lightweight.
Pop up and hop up stands are particularly suitable for solo exhibitors, as they’re easily foldable into a more portable size. But once assembled, they’re just as eye catching and engaging as something more elaborate.
With a bit of planning and a well-designed banner, even the humblest of display stands can still make an impact.
Get to Know Your Neighbouring Exhibitors
Just because you’re tied to your stand all day, it doesn’t mean you can’t network.
Take the time to introduce yourself to all of your neighbouring stands. Express a genuine interest in your business. Ask lots of questions, and you’ll be asked a lot of questions in return.
In this way, they’ll get to know your business. Which might mean that, throughout the day, they’ll happily point delegates in your direction.
And you never know. Your dream prospect might just be setting up shop right next door.
Prepare for a Very Long Day
Eat a good breakfast, the sort that will give you a slow release of energy throughout the day – porridge, wholemeal cereal, fresh fruit, and eggs are all good options.
Bring plenty of water, and keep yourself hydrated.
Stand proud and smile. If you slump and frown you’ll feel more tired than you actually are. The important thing to remember is, even if you go alone…
Make Time for Breaks
Accept that you won’t be able to maintain a presence at your stand all day. Take some time to sit down, get some fresh air, eat some proper food, and recuperate.
You might tell yourself that any time you spend away from your stand is time wasted – that you should aim to make the most of every second you spend at the expo.
But think about it: if you don’t make time for breaks, how can you possibly expect to be at your best? You’ll be burned out in no time, and in absolutely no fit shape to network and nurture leads.
Leave Nothing of Value on Your Stand
Obviously, if you’re going to make time for wandering and recovering, you don’t want to leave anything on your stand that you’ll miss.
We usually advise exhibitors to bring a laptop, as it creates a professional air and makes it easier to collect contact details. But you’ll never be able to relax on your breaks if you’re worrying about the laptop you left on your stand.
So instead, take a tablet. They’re smaller, easier to carry around when not manning your stand, and they’re just as effective when it comes to creating the right impression and collecting leads.
Adjust Your Plans Accordingly
When planning for the event, make sure you account for your limitations. Don’t set yourself impossible goals, as you’ll only stress yourself out as you fail to achieve them. Instead, think strategically.
Rather than chasing as many leads as possible, perhaps set out with the intention of landing that one big fish. And instead of aiming to represent your entire business, perhaps focus on promoting the benefits of one of your best-selling and most profitable products.
If you’re forced to go alone, the expo won’t be nearly as successful as it would have been if you able to attend as a team. But with the right strategy, the right attitude, and the right equipment, the day can still be a success.
Greg Lennox, is the Managing Director of RAL Display,