The preparation is complete and it’s the day of the exhibition, how are you going to ensure that the time and effort you’ve already put in pays off?  Here are my:

Top three tips for making the most of the exhibition day

  1. What’s your icebreaker?

  2. What’s your killer question?

  3. Lead capture form

What’s your icebreaker?

Whether you’re a seasoned exhibitor or it’s fairly new to you, getting people to stop at your stand can be quite a challenge.

If you’ve visited an exhibition you’ve probably seen lots of examples of how not to do it.  It amazes me how many people sit down on their stand either looking totally bored or even engrossed in their phones; how on earth do they expect to go away from the day feeling as though it had been time (and money) well spent.  In their case, even a smile wouldn’t have gone amiss, but sometimes it takes a little more.

An activity is a great way to get people involved before you even start to have a conversation. Years ago, whilst working with Headcount (a field marketing agency), we used artificial grass and created a putting competition. We had people queuing up to have a go and get their name on our leader board!

Nicci Bonfanti had a great idea.  She had two life sized SuperHeros (the theme for her stand), which you could stand behind and put your face through the hole.  Again, people were making a b-line to have their photos taken. This was great as they were being tweeted with the hash tag for the exhibition; added promotion for Nicci!

Many exhibitors hold a competition.  Although this is an effective way to capture visitors’ names, I’m always wary about having a bowl where you ask people to drop their business cards. You need to find a way of gleaning a bit more information about the business card owner.  After all, that’s why you are there.  It may be as simple as asking a question in order to win your competition.  This will also help you to qualify them when you follow up in the days after the exhibition.

What’s your killer question?

Another common mistake I’ve experienced as a visitor and I expect you have too, is that when I’ve made the decision to stop at a stand, the exhibitor prattles on for five minutes about what they do and they haven’t a clue as to whether it’s at all relevant to me.

You want to find out as much as you can about your visitor.  Only once you’ve done that are you in a position to know what to say about how you can help them. To do this you need to have prepared some really good questions.

You can find out about killer questions in a previous marketing tip Ask great questions. In this scenario it was all about questioning and listening whilst networking, but the same applies as an exhibitor.

Lead Generation Form

If you have an effective icebreaker to attract people to your stand and you’ve asked some really good questions to find out how you can help them, the final step is to capture the details.

At the end of a busy day you will have spoken to so many people, you will completely forget about the conversations you’ve had.  To remind yourself use a Lead Generation Form.  It’s easy just to staple the business card to the top.  It has boxes to note down the answer to your killer questions, which also act as a prompt to make sure you don’t forget to ask them.

You can also note what action to take after the exhibition, which might be to arrange a meeting, call back in three months or add them to your email marketing list to keep in touch via your newsletter.

Lead Generation Form Templace


I’ve used this Lead Generation Form many times myself and several of my clients have found it really useful too, so here’s a Lead Generation Form Template you can download for yourself.

And finally…

Good luck at the expo, smile and have fun and don’t forget to follow up!  Then you will have made the most out of your exhibition.

I shall be presenting a seminar on Getting the most out of your marketing on 25th March at the Target Business Expo in Dorking.  If you’d like to come along you can book your free tickets here.

I shall also be running a workshop ‘7 steps to nurturing your prospects’ in the afternoon.  And don’t forget to stop by stand A1 and say hello.

You won’t be surprised that:

  • I shall be wearing a smile
  • You can enter a competition to win a 1 hour marketing consultancy session and
  • I’ll be noting down our conversation to remind myself of your burning marketing issues!