The Inside Scoop

Show management on the tips and tricks to navigate your next onsite experience

In a recent survey of more than 1,500 engineers across our advanced manufacturing community, we found that 53% of our attendees come to our trade events to discover new vendors. Moreover, in the same study, we found that 29% of them have purchasing power of $250,000 or more.

There are a few key ways to drive those customers to your booth. We did the legwork for you by asking UBM Advanced Manufacturing Group general manager Hayley Haggarty and event director Ian Doyle about how to get it right.


Make a good first impression

Throughout our shows, we've found that the attendees' #1 objective is to discover new products and services. Whether you use touchscreens, iPads, or product samples, find something that will get attendees to notice your product.

Present your products and your company in the best light, says Haggarty. "Bring your latest and greatest products. People can actually see what your company's doing and what you're launching that year. Having some interactive demonstrations of the products is key."


Focus on quality

Getting people to your booth is only half the battle. If your main objective when exhibiting at an event is to generate new sales leads, how do you discern which attendees are the best leads?

Look at the audience data and attendee reports from last year's show, and select key players that you want to meet onsite this year. The more effort you make to attract and engage them, the faster and more efficiently you'll be able to bring them into the pipeline.

When they arrive at your booth, be friendly and ready to chat. "Make sure that you're always engaged and you're inviting," Haggarty says.


Bring your employees

To convince booth visitors to do business with you, you'll need booth staffers who have genuine expertise.

Haggarty recommends the ones who already work for you. "Your employees know the products and understand the company. Use that to your advantage."


Bring your customers

It's easy to imagine why attendees gravitate toward the huge booths with a "cool" factor like robots or cobots. However, that's not the only way to get leads.

Exhibitors who don't have big booths or flashy products might try a different approach. "Maybe for them," says Doyle, "the idea should be to showcase what [the] end product is." In other words, reveal to attendees how they can use your product to create their products.

How do you do that? Reach out to the people already using your product to create end products: your customers.

Doyle explains that when you bring your customers to the show, other attendees can "actually visualize what can come from [your] product." He adds, "That is definitely a cool factor that could help a smaller product at our shows."


Get creative

Whatever your product is, you can engage the crowd at the show. All you need to do is ... be different.

"At DesignCon, one of our exhibitors did a build-your-own-chipboard activity in a little area in their booth," says Doyle. "It was a huge hit. They had a line to get there."

"Let the exhibitors get their hands on your product and build something," Doyle explains. "Let them engage with it. And use it as an opportunity to engage with them. Talk with them about your product and what it can do."


Get in the directory

Haggarty has seen first-hand the value of getting yourself and your product up on a show's exhibitor directory. "We certainly know [that] people who have a full exhibitor listing versus not have more traffic to their website — pre-event [and] at the event. And so definitely I would put that as the number one."

The earlier you put your details into the exhibitor directory online and in the mobile app, Doyle agrees, the better your results.


Help us help you

As an exhibitor, you wear a lot of hats — staffing, planning, designing your space, and more — when you're preparing for an event. Look to the show organizers to help make your experience as smooth as possible.

"Help us help you," Doyle says. "Let us know what you're doing at the show. If you're doing anything in particular that you would like us to mention, we'll do it. I feel if an exhibitor does all of the things we just said, I can guarantee they're going to have a good time at the show."