Can small exhibitors succeed at large trade shows?

It seems that every year more trade shows are added to the calendar, each one bigger than before. The trend for large exhibitions in giant, cavernous venues appears unstoppable. And that’s fine if you’re a big corporate player, familiar with competing for attention on such a big stage. But what if you are a newbie in the business, still finding your feet in the cut throat world of commerce? How on earth do small businesses get themselves noticed at big corporate trade events? Well, it’s not easy, but it is possible. Here’s how the exhibiting minnows make a big splash at large trade shows…

Money spent wisely goes much further

The first bit of good news is that it doesn’t really all come down to budget. The big exhibitors all have their fancy display stands with fully interactive this and totally intuitive that, they have amazing lighting design, their brand and message is crystal clear and it all looks very professional. They throw a lot of money at their display stands but to be honest, the same results can be achieved on far smaller budgets. As long as you know what the key elements to a successful trade show stand are, you too, no matter how small, can play up there with the big boys.

Focus on a clear brand message, don’t over-clutter the stand, aim for a natural flow through the display, restrict to one or two colours, use clear, crisp graphics that instantly tell the right story. Small can be beautiful and with some investment in professional bespoke display stands there’s no reason you can’t achieve impressive results on a fraction of the budget. Necessity is the mother of invention and tight budgets can inspire more creative solutions, so focus on fabulous display stands such as RAL Display that pitch your product perfectly.

Make your small size an asset

Being small in a world of big operators makes you unique. Viewing your small size as a positive is very important and if you choose to highlight it as such, you’d be surprised at the results. For instance, exhibition venues often have smaller, less popular stands that they need to fill – sometimes they are in awkward spaces, sometimes they are right next to big stands, but if you play your cards right it could be possible to secure lower prices on great pitches simply due to your more delicate proportions. When it comes down to it, they are selling floor space and if you have a small footprint, then make the most of it.

Being small makes you more approachable to show goers. Work on the welcoming and warm aspect of a small stand and you’ll have people flocking in to see what you’ve got. Smaller stands can afford to be more daring with their displays, a maverick streak and a strong original identity will certainly make you stand out amongst the more staid regulars. Make the stand a happy and jolly place to visit and it will become known as the party stand – you’ll find a steady stream of visitors dropping by to check out what exactly you’re offering. And once you get them on the stand, floor them with your charm, energy and enthusiasm for your product. A true passion for what you are promoting is one of the most seductive selling techniques on the planet.

Chase the deals

Trade shows are the ultimate networking environment so you need to have your schmoozing head on at all times. Have business cards and contact details at the ready and gather as much information from leads as you possibly can. Major trade shows will have all sorts of people checking you out, from multinational retail giants to smaller independent outfits – it’s often difficult to tell them apart, so treat them all with equal care, attention and blast them with the positive plus points of your product. After the show is over follow up all sales leads as soon as possible. Never let the trail go cold – prospective clients should be able to remember you as soon as you call. The longer you leave it to chase up a lead, the less interested you look and the less appealing you are to any customer.

Small exhibitors can succeed at large trade shows if they focus on keeping it simple and direct. You may have to work harder initially to grab attention, but once you get visitors to stop by your stand you’ll be in a position to work your sales pitch to the max. With a stunning looking expo stand and the right attitude small trade show exhibitors can expect big results.