How to exhibit successfully – 10 steps towards trade fair success

How to exhibit successfully –
10 steps towards trade fair success
powered by MEPLAN
10 steps towards trade fair success
Trade fairs are excellent communication
and business platforms – especially when
they are well structured and professionally
prepared. The initiative called „Your key to
trade fair success“ provides you with rules,
tips and tricks, to help you to achieve
success at trade fairs.
Our guidelines show you how to achieve
your trade fair objectives safely and efficiently. You should therefore set fixed
deadlines straight away, outlining your
schedule for implementing the individual
steps. Checklists, tools, useful sources
and practical tips also provide you with
an important source of help for efficient
implementation of your trade fair project.
This 10 STEPS brochure is a clear and deliberately short handbook, a companion
for day-to-day work – it contains many
valuable practical tips and real answers to
the core questions relating to successful
participation at a trade fair.
Additional support for the realization of
your ten steps to guaranteed success at
trade fairs is to be found in the „Your key to
trade fair success“ initiative for BAU 2015.
Here you can gather further information
from online trainings or checklists, which
Dear exhibitors of BAU 2015,
Editorial ........................................................................................ Page 3
Trade fair objectives .................................................... Page
Budget calculation ....................................................... Page
Stand design .................................................................. Page
Inviting visitors ............................................................. Page 12
Acquiring new contacts ............................................. Page 14
Employee briefing ........................................................ Page 16
Trade fair meetings ...................................................... Page 18
Lead management ........................................................ Page 20
Trade fair follow-up .................................................... Page 22
Monitoring success ...................................................... Page 24
can be sent to you upon request.
More information at
We wish you a good start to your trade fair
preparations and every success at BAU 2015.
Yours sincerely,
Mirko Arend
Exibition Group
Director, BAU 2015
Ute-Désirée Hagedorn
Managing Director,
Meplan GmbH
Trade fair objectives
What are your objectives for your trade fair
appearance? Do you primarily want to gain
new customers, promote your company’s
image or present new products? The planning of your entire trade fair appearance
depends on how you define your trade
fair objectives: from your choice of stand
space, through to the design of your stand,
inviting visitors and looking after guests at
your stand.
How do I determine the
objectives for my trade
fair appearance?
The practical and free Trade Fair Benefit
Check from AUMA (Association of the
German Trade Fair Industry) gives you
a detailed online insight into the most
important objectives of trade fair partici-
pation. Furthermore, you can find the
right instruments to measure if you have
achieved your trade fair objectives. You can
find more information at:
How do my trade fair objectives
become a key part of my trade
fair planning?
From as early in the planning stage as
possible, include all departments from your
company that are directly involved with
your appearance at the trade fair. Draw up
your objectives for the trade fair together
and communicate these to all parties
involved, both internal and external. Determining your objectives is just as important
for briefing your external service providers
as for briefing your employees working on
the stand.
What are the advantages of
clearly formulated and documented trade fair objectives?
With correctly defined trade fair objectives, you ensure clear, thorough trade fair
communication and always have binding
guidelines for trade fair activities to hand.
Your trade fair objectives also form the
basis for the important task of measuring
how successful the trade fair was after the
event. The better defined your objectives
are, the greater your chances of success
will be.
When defining your objectives, ensure they are in line
with your corporate and marketing objectives.
Establish your objectives in good time – the earlier
the better.
Define realistic objectives and reestablish and/or
re-examine them before each trade fair appearance.
Concentrate on objectives that are measurable in
real terms.
Establish how you wish to measure the achievement
of your objectives.
Communicate the trade fair objectives to all parties
involved in the trade fair in the form of written
The top 5 trade fair objectives of
BAU exhibitors
1. Foster existing business relationships
2. Acquiring new customers
3. Follow-up business / concluding transactions /
4. Presentation and cultivation of company image
5. Market orientation
The top 5 trade fair objectives of
BAU visitors
1. Foster existing business relationships
2. Gaining new service providers / partners
3. Follow-up business / concluding transactions /
4. New products
5. Market orientation
Budget calculation
A realistic budget calculation will enable
you to create a solid financial basis for
your participation in the trade fair. Rough
estimates or much-sought-after “ballpark figures” always lead to compromise
solutions that jeopardise your trade fair
objectives. Therefore it is important
that from the outset you have a reliable
overview of the costs of your trade fair
How do I obtain a realistic
Which cost items should
be included in my budget
How do I make my appearance
at a trade fair more efficient in
order to reduce costs?
The Trade Fair Benefit Check from AUMA
not only gives you an overview of trade fair
objectives, but also of the costs associated
with a trade fair appearance.
Anyone who plans early saves money. Nothing
incurs more costs than changes at short notice
or last minute orders. Check at all times how
and where you can make use of existing resources. Ensure that your trade fair team stick
to their budget through regular coordination.
The Trade Fair Budget Planner® enables you
to calculate your trade fair budget for the
most important trade fair-specific costs.
You should also examine calculations made
after previous trade fair appearances and
use these as a basis for your budget.
The most important
budget items
Stand space, stand construction as
well as costs for technical services
(e.g. electricity), security and logistics
Travel and accommodation costs,
meals and equipment stand staff
Advertising and public relations
for your presentation
Plan your budget early!
Consider all items: Stand space, fees, utilities
(electricity, water, etc.), stand design, stand construction,
marketing, staff, travel costs, catering, etc.
Ensure that your budget is based on facts,
not rough estimates.
Check that the budget has been adhered
to by means of a follow-up calculation
after the trade fair.
Visitor invitation, marketing and
information media
Catering at the stand
Specials such as events, advertising
at the trade fair ground, special
exhibits and activities
Stand design
An impressive trade fair stand attracts
visitors and arouses interest in your company. The budget and the size of the stand
are not important for this. What is important is a coherent design that supports you
in achieving your trade fair objectives.
What characterises a good
stand design?
The optimum stand design reflects, first
and foremost, your defined trade fair
objectives. If, for example, your most
important objective is to make contact
with new customers, then the main focus
of your stand design should be the interest
it generates from afar and its eyecatching
features. In all cases, your stand should
have a clearly-formulated message to
convey at the trade fair.
The main purpose of a trade fair is to enable discussions: it is therefore important
to plan areas where meetings can be held
in a pleasant atmosphere.
What should be taken into
account when dividing up
your stand?
Ensure that there is a clear division between communication and presentation
areas, using plants, semi-transparent partitions or separate levels. Create a different
atmosphere in each area, for instance by
using different flooring or distinct lighting.
Ensure that you have calculated sufficient
space for the back office area, storeroom,
wardrobe and above all refreshments. The
catering should not disturb proceedings at
the stand. It should not be possible to see
into the kitchen or behind counters. Ensuring your stand is clearly organised for visitors is particularly challenging: information
counters should stand out as the first port
of call and individual stand areas should be
distinguished by clear signage. Remember
the principle “less is more” – avoid access
barriers and ensure that you do not “block
off” your stand. It should be ensured that
there is sufficient room for exhibits and
presentation material.
What information does your
stand construction partner
The more background information you can
give to your stand construction partner,
the better the stand design will be suited
to achieving your trade fair objectives.
Depending on the trade fair, information
on the position, size and type of stand
space is important. Do you already have
an actual idea as to how your stand will be
constructed? Do you know the neighbouring stands? The people with whom you are
working to build the stand will also find it
helpful to see photographic documentation of previous trade fair appearances
or examples of stands that particularly
impressed you at other trade fairs.
In addition, your stand construction
partner requires precise information on
which activities are planned at the stand
(presentations, demonstrations, events,
etc.). One issue will, however, be a deciding
factor when it comes to your stand design:
the budget you have available.
MEPLAN can provide you with cost-effective stand
construction solutions, tailored to your trade fair objectives.
Free stand quick check!
Stand design
Systemised build
Through its use of standardised materials (OCTANORM, Mero, Maxima etc.), the
systemised stand build provides a way of creating a turnkey exhibition stand that
it is easy to manage and cost-effective.
The systemised stand build option is typically used for stands up to 60 sqm at an
average cost of 52.00 to 120.00 €/sqm.
Customised stand build
High-quality stand construction, unique tailor-made designs and first-rate
detailing on fittings and features: in the conception phase of designer stands,
architects, designers and marketing experts work hand in hand to create an
extraordinary trade fair experience. From the initial idea in hand-scribbled
design sketches to the final implementation stage: each step is individually
tailored to meet customer requirements. A designer stand is the ideal solution
for those unwilling to make any compromises regarding corporate identity.
How good is your current exhibition
stand? Send a picture of your stand
and your hall location to
[email protected]
Our experts will analyse your exhibition stand concept, looking at its
functionality, product presentation,
visibility from a distance, pathways
and CI conformity – free and without obligation.
The average cost of a designer stand build amounts to 350.00 €/sqm.
Inviting visitors
With targeted visitor marketing you can be
sure that the customers you are interested
in visit your stand. Nothing is less efficient
at a trade fair than chance and hope.
their trade fair visit and make important
appointments in advance. Use targeted
invitations to ensure you have confirmed
Why are visitor invitations so
How do I plan my invitation
campaign correctly?
According to a current AUMA survey, a
trade fair invitation from an exhibitor is
the most effective way of addressing visitors. In addition, trade fair invitations offer
an excellent opportunity to distinguish
yourself from the competition early on and
to generate interest. However, the most important thing to remember is that the time
available to the trade fair visitor is limited.
Over 80% of all industry professionals plan
The most important rule first: start
planning early, at least two and preferably three months before the start of the
trade fair. Merely updating and adding to
address data takes time – but is essential. Approaching your guests correctly is
ultimately the highest priority. Categorise
your addresses and establish who you wish
to invite by e-mail, which guests you would
prefer to be invited by a more personal
letter and who you wish to invite directly
in person. Don’t forget when sending
invitations that management staff and
guests with a long journey to the trade fair
need more time in advance to plan their
appointment. Bank holidays and holidays
should also be taken into account.
The following must also be planned: Who
should the response be sent to? Who is
coordinating the trade fair appointments
and how? Have your sales employees been
informed of the trade fair invitations and
will they be able to respond competently if
they are approached by interested visitors?
How do I distinguish my
invitation from those of
other exhibitors?
Sending out a series of invitations achieves
a much higher degree of attention. In
doing so, you should use different media
forms. For example, “save the date” e-mails
have proven effective in the first instance,
followed by a written letter and lastly a
personal reminder call shortly before the
trade fair starts. Create special incentives
for visiting your stand at the trade fair.
Voucher for tickets, an invitation to a
stand party or presentation, or suitable
give aways will help to increase interest
in visiting your stand.
What should I include in
my trade fair invitation?
Trade fair message
Event: location and date
Contact partner with contact details
Topics, products and services,
in particular new products
Benefits for visitors
Events, presentations, talks, etc.
Company and trade fair logo
Incentives (e.g. voucher for tickets)
Response options
Trade fair initiations contribute
considerably to the success of
your trade fair appearance.
Invite customers and interested
A long-lasting impact can be
achieved by sending a series of
invitations to visitors.
Create incentives for visiting your
Agree fixed appointments for
Address your different target
groups individually.
Hall/stand number with
directions to the stand
Acquiring new contacts
Trade fairs are not only the ideal forum for
you to keep in contact with your customers,
they are also the ideal instrument for
acquiring new contacts.
How do I reach potential
visitors before the trade fair?
Anyone who wants to generate new
contacts must in form potential visitors of
their participation in the trade fair. Include
the announcement that you will be at the
trade fair in all your communications, for
instance in your e-mail signature, on your
website, in advertisements or in newsletters. Ensure that you generate interest
by announcing highlights – for example
specialist talks from well-known experts or
exclusive product premieres.
It is particularly important to invite
potential new customers. To do this, use
addresses from your own database or from
address brokers. Invite visitors who have an
entry in the trade fair catalogue to make
contact. Ensure, by actively working with
the press in the run-up to the trade fair,
that articles are written about your trade
fair appearance or use the opportunity of
taking out advertisements in special editions of trade fair publications.
How do I generate interest from
visitors during the trade fair?
To attract the attention of your potential
new contacts, these contacts must be able
to recognise at first glance who you are
and what your company does. Special
eye-catching features on the stand or
promotions can awaken the interest of
trade fair visitors. Book advertising space
on the trade fair premises to lead people to
your stand. Working with other exhibitors,
you can also leave information about
your stand on the stands of your fellow
exhibitors. Advertise presentations at your
stand or in conference rooms at the trade
fair. Use meeting points such as the media
lounge or conference rooms for your appointments with journalists and customers.
Include information on your trade fair appearance
in your existing communications and use BAU’s
advertising options such as catalogue entries and
banner advertisements in newsletters.
Offer simple possibilities for making contact with
your company.
Ensure that you are easily recognisable by using
consistent communication.
Invite former customers and representatives from
the press to your stand.
Employee briefing
How a customer meeting at the trade fair
stand goes is a decisive factor for success.
In order for your employees at your stand to
act and respond as best they can, they must
be given comprehensive training about your
specific requirements in advance.
What information do employees
at my stand require?
Exact knowledge of the defined trade
fair objectives, messages and strategies is
indispensable for working on the stand.
The better your employees know what and
who they are expecting at the trade fair,
the better they can prepare themselves. Inform them of which target groups you have
invited and which potentially interested
parties will be attending, using the visitor
information for the trade fair. Detailed
information on this can be found on the
BAU website.
The trade fair stand is your company’s focal
point for the duration of the trade fair.
Therefore your employees should also know
their surroundings very well: not only the
exact location of the stand on the trade
fair premises but also which competitors
are at the trade fair, in what form and what
products and services they are presenting.
How do I ensure that everything
runs smoothly at the stand?
How do I best prepare my
stand employees?
It is essential that people have a clear idea of
who is responsible for what at the trade fair
stand. For example, who is the contact person
for key accounts, who deals with enquiries
from the press and who is responsible for
organisational matters. A list of contact
telephone numbers of the most important
contact persons at the stand should be available, as should an overview of appointments,
events and activities at the stand. It makes
sense to establish an optimum period of
time for a meeting in order to gain as many
contacts as possible. In addition to this, agree
upon a discreet sign with your stand team to
cleverly bring unwanted “marathon meetings”
to an end. Notify all stand employees in
advance of how meetings at your stand
should be documented.
Trade fair training sessions are a valuable
instrument for preparing all people involved in the trade fair for actual situations
at the stand in advance, and for agreeing
on the right method of communicating.
A written brief which succinctly summarises all relevant aspects of your trade fair
appearance is also a valuable aid for your
stand employees. Use the day before the
trade fair for a short kick-off meeting to
clarify organisational details and outstanding questions, provide an introduction to
the stand and repeat the most important
communication guidelines.
First impressions count – ensure that only your
best-trained, most competent staff are present at
the information counter.
Create incentives for your employees which encourage
them to achieve the trade fair objectives together.
Use a system that makes it immediately evident, at all
times, which employees are not present at the stand
and when they will return.
Make sure that the responsibilities on the stand are
clearly distributed and communicated.
Trade fair meetings
The possibility of face-to-face communication with interested parties, customers and
partners is a significant advantage of trade fairs. Your preparation for the trade fair and
your stand design should be geared towards generating numerous high quality meetings
at the trade fair.
How do I conduct a successful trade fair meeting?
Trade fair meetings are dialogues. Avoid entering into a monologue about your services. Find
out your customer’s requirements during the meeting. Do not merely provide answers, but
ask targeted questions too. And don’t forget: trade fair meetings serve to maintain existing
contacts and acquire new customers. It is therefore important to come to a joint agreement
on how to move forward.
Approach your visitors with an open question. Avoid
general verbiage such as the question “Can I help you?”
How should I approach
my visitors?
How do I examine the quality of
trade fair meetings?
Actively ask questions about the requirements of the
person with whom you are speaking.
Give your visitors a short while to orientate themselves when they first enter the
stand. Make eye contact and then instigate
dialogue with an open situation-related
question. It is very important that the
people involved in the meeting introduce
themselves personally by exchanging
business cards during the course of the
An online survey after the trade fair is a
cheap way for you to receive reliable feedback from your visitors. Used as a basis to
optimise your next trade fair appearance,
it is a valuable instrument for trade fair
Prepare yourself for the appointment and inform
yourself about the company for whom the person
you are meeting works.
Prove that you take the meeting seriously – by
responding quickly after the trade fair.
Intensive training sessions with all employees who will
conduct meetings at the trade fair stand provide assurance and create uniform communication guidelines.
Test how good you are with online surveys after the
trade fair.
Stick to the appointments that you have made.
Lead management
SCAN2LEAD: A good start to a conversation,
efficient Lead generation and more trade
fair success for your company.
In one quick scan, you´ve got all the
details about each individual visitor
coming to your booth, ready for further
processing in your marketing applications.
All this and more is provided in the
Scan2Lead solutions for BAU 2015.
The information provided by the visitor
when registering online or at the venue is
available to you in the scan. You can also,
for example, add your own notes on each
contact and save them.
All the visitor information that you
collect in this way at your booth is then
available to you in your own personal
web portal – organized, well laid out and
statistically processed. From here the data
can be transferred easily to your CRM
system or the marketing systems you
use, ready for further processing and use.
How it works: With your own smartphone
or tablet PC you can start straight away.
Or you can hire one of our devices (e.g.
iPad, scanner, laptop with scanner pistol).
The days of writing down all the information by hand on lead sheets are now finally
over – the Scan2Lead solution is not only
faster, it´s much more accurate.
Record contact data immediately
and digitally at the stand itself.
S2L Smart
A Scan2Lead license that can be used on a
smartphone (iPhone or Android device) and
on a tablet PC (for hire if required).
S2L Collect
A miniature scanner which you can use
to scan visitor´s details.
S2L Station
A preconfigured solution for your booth
which displays the visitor´s details direct
(incl. hired notebook computer and
scanner pistol).
Standardised meeting minutes
can be immediately digitised,
meaning that no information
gets lost.
To further optimize contact quality for you as an exhibitor at BAU 2015,
before and after the show, BAU will also be offering a matchmaking
service for visitors and exhibitors. This is a more structured, targeted
and time-efficient way of making contact with new potential business partners. Information will be provided to BAU exhibitors on this
Contact for questions on Scan2Lead:
Sonja Kiesel
Fon +49 89 949-21251
[email protected]
Gain a competitive edge by
promptly processing your trade
fair contacts after the trade fair.
React a.s.a.p!
Se n d in fo rm a ti on !
Record the following standardised data using a simple meeting sheet: contact data, visitor
category (customer etc.), subject
of meeting (e.g. interest in certain
products), person responsible for
dealing with the contact internally, next steps agreed, date and
Don get!
Trade fair follow-up
Harvest time – this is when your effort at
the trade fair bears fruit.
What characterises good sales
follow-up after the trade fair?
Why is follow-up work once the
trade fair is over so important?
Good sales follow-up after the trade fair is
characterised by quick responses and concrete action in relation to visitors’ requests.
Your visitors expect that you will keep your
promises and, for example, that information or quotes will be sent without delay. A
thank-you letter sent directly after the visit
also ensures a sustained positive impression
of the visit to the trade fair.
Your visitors will have many meetings at
the trade fair – very probably with your
competitors too. A study carried out by
AUMA found that only 50% of trade fair
visitors were satisfied with the follow-up
work conducted by exhibitors after a trade
fair. The follow-up work you do after the
trade fair gives you the perfect opportunity to stand out from your competitors.
How do I benefit from the
experiences of all involved in
the trade fair?
In addition to data from your trade fair
market research, the feedback from all
employees and service providers involved
provides an important point of reference when optimising your next trade fair
project. Feedback meetings and workshops
should be held directly after the trade fair
so that impressions, suggestions, praise and
also criticism are not lost.
A quick response to trade fair meetings ensures
a competitive edge.
Keep your promises (such as to send information)
without fail.
Define follow-up procedures before the trade fair.
Obtain feedback from all involved, through online
surveys, feedback meetings and workshops.
Professional recording of contacts at the stand is a
basic prerequisite for follow-up work once the trade
fair is over.
Monitoring success
Do you want to improve each time you
appear at a trade fair? Then do not leave
this to chance. Analyse what objectives you
have achieved and to what extent. Only in
this way can you constantly improve your
trade fair activities and continue to build
upon your success.
of you was can be determined through visitor surveys. Further important key figures
are the relationship between the number
of trade fair visitors overall and your active
contacts, the number of contacts per stand
employee and the number of contacts per
target group.
How do I know if I was
Where can I obtain parameters
for comparison?
Evaluating your trade fair contacts is certainly one of the most important sources
of information. The documentation of your
meetings gives you precise information on
the number and quality of meetings at your
stand. However, passive contacts are also
to be judged as a success. Who noticed you
at the trade fair and what their perception
Reliable indications of the success of
your marketing instruments can only be
obtained from the continuous documentation of results over many years. Further
parameters for comparison can be obtained
from data provided by the trade fair
How can I determine my own
key figures?
Specific measurement parameters should
be established at the time of defining
your trade fair objectives. This ensures
that at the planning stage it is established
how and to what extent the required key
figures will be obtained. In addition, market
research measures undertaken during the
trade fair can be used to obtain reliable information on the achievement of the trade
fair objectives.
With visitor surveys on-site or online, you
can gauge, for example, the impact made
by your stand, the level of visitors’ satisfaction with meetings and visitors’ willingness
to invest.
Selected key figures and
methods of measurement
Number of meetings –
evaluation of meeting forms
Quality of meetings –
evaluation of meeting forms
Meetings per employee –
evaluation of meeting forms
Number of stand visitors –
visitor count
Overall satisfaction of stand visitors –
visitor survey
Trade fair contacts are the measure of your success.
What ultimately counts is the quality of your contacts.
Differentiate between customers, interested parties and
other target groups as well as between the potential of
the respective visitors.
Compare the visitor statistics for your stand with the
data for the trade fair.
When measuring success, refer to your specific trade
fair objectives. In doing so, think about the fact that
trade fairs have a long-term effect and in addition to
generating contacts and revenues, there are many
further advantages such as promoting your corporate
image or increasing awareness.
Contact details for
further information:
Katharina Rehm
Project Manager Trade Fair Consulting
Willy-Brandt-Allee 1
D-81829 München
Fon + 49 (0)89 949 283 16
Fax + 49 (0)89 949 281 59
[email protected]