How To Maximize Your ROI At An Exhibition

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

ExhibitingI keynoted at the ISM’s Successful Selling Conference where I met and had a very interesting conversation with Peter Bowen, CEO of Access Displays – who produce modular and custom built exhibition stands for all manner of venues and events.

Peter Bowen is an industry expert and panel member at the Event Supplier and Service Association. Having been in the sales and marketing industry for 28 years, Peter has helped thousands of SME’s increase their presence through exhibitions and display solutions – which makes him somewhat of an authority figure on the subject of exhibiting at key events.

Peter had some really interesting information about the benefits of exhibiting and how to get the best out of your place at the show, so I have invited Peter to share his insights with you all. Enjoy!

How To Maximize Your ROI At An Exhibition

The value of face to face selling at exhibitions is well documented, so in these testing times, where we all have fewer customers with less money to spend, it is imperative that we plan ahead and train our stand personnel to work harder and smarter than our competitors. The following tips might make the difference and help you realise the true potential of exhibiting.

Think about why you are exhibiting. Is it to sell more products, improve brand awareness, meet existing customers, collect leads for future appointments, find distributors or something else?

What are your objectives for the show?

  • Think about how you are going to measure success or ROI?
  • Are you judging success by the number of leads, sales, visitors, conversions, or the amount of brochures you give out?
  • Set daily targets for each person manning the stand and measure their performance.
  • Communicate your objectives to the team and most importantly, measure.
  • Give staff incentives to encourage activity and accuracy.

Do your research about the show

  • Can the organiser back the visitor numbers up?
  • Is the exhibition ABC audited?
  • Is the audience made up of your typical customer?
  • Speak to other exhibitors before you book.

Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)

  • Keep your exhibition stand graphics simple. “Who you are” and “what you do” is often missed!
  • Make your space work for you with plenty of room to meet clients, discuss projects or demonstrate products.
  • Speak to expert Exhibition contractors. If you are looking for a reliable exhibition contractor who may already be building at your show then make sure you use an ESSA member –

Pre-exhibition planning

Once you have agreed your objectives make sure you explain them to the people that are manning the exhibition stand and make sure that everybody knows who is responsible for what!

  • Invite your customers and prospects before the show using social media, your web site and direct mail.
  • Tell them something “interesting” and give them a reason or incentive for visiting.
  • Remember, most visitors have gone to a great deal of expense and trouble to attend.

Data capture

Whether you use bar code readers or a simple pad and pen, make notes on what your customers were interested in so that you can send them the correct information or speak to them in more detail after the show.

“There is nothing worse for a customer, who has spent half an hour on the stand explaining his requirement, than receiving a telephone call a week later asking him what he was interested in.”


Before the show discuss what questions your customers are likely to ask and make sure you have the answers or know where to get them.

Conduct some exhibition training on your products, availability, distributors, prices, trade discounts, delivery costs, production times, service agreements, returns policy and don’t forget it your customers might want to “know who else has bought your product or service”.

For more tips on exhibiting go to

Peter Bowen, CEO of Access DisplaysHappy Exhibiting!

Peter Bowen, CEO of Access Displays

Peter has got some fantastic best buy offers on a wide range of exhibition displays and stand equipment from Access Displays, so head to for more information on these great deals.

(Image by Estate Agency Events)

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 1 November, 2011

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