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Exhibition tips from the experts

Richard Catton


A trade exhibtion at Harrogate Convention Centre
Five top tips for surviving the exhibition stand

We asked the exhibition experts at Harrogate Home & Gift for five top tips on how to survive those long days on the stand while still smiling and bringing in the buyers. 

THE simple act of one person showing off their products in the hope of tempting another person to buy them is essentially what the exhibition business is all about.

It is both an art and a science and successful businesses have been perfecting it for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

At Harrogate Convention Centre we have played a small but significant part in that rich history as we, over the years, have welcomed exhibitors displaying everything from yachts and tipper trucks to Christmas trees and scented drawer liners.

So if exhibiting and exhibition displays are an art and a science, how do you get it right?

The best people to ask are those who have done it before and have learnt the tricks when it comes to surviving four days on a stand and bagging that big order.

We decided to speak to some of the seasoned stand-holders at the recent Harrogate Home & Gift Show, and we now present to you five essential pieces of advice on how to get exhibiting right:

1 – Never put barriers to buyers at the front of your stand.

Whether it’s a display of products, a video screen or even
yourself, don’t have anything in the way which would bar people’s access to your stand.

Visitors should be drawn in rather than diverted from your offering. One of the worst things you can do is loiter in front of your stand making protracted eye contact with everyone walking past – people will unconsciously give you, and your products, the swerve. Not good.

2- Let there be light

Take a look around any show and the most eye-catching stands are the ones which make clever use of lighting.

Get those products (literally) under the spotlight to bring out the colours and grab the attention of buyers.

Got a great product and display stand? People will walk on by to your more illuminated competitor if your stand is relying on the industrial overhead lights of the venue, so light it up folks.

An exhibitor at Harrogate Convention Centre
A Home and Gift exhibitor at Harrogate Convention Centre

3 – Comfy Shoes

A true beginners’ mistake and one unlikely to be repeated once you’ve made it once. 

If you want to survive four days on your feet, ladies, then you’re going to have to ditch the heels. 

One veteran of the exhibition game we spoke to said she brings four pairs of shoes with her to the stand and all of them are flats.

By all means spend and an hour or two in the heels but any more and those toes and calves will be suffering by closing time. Keep the killer heels for the after-show socialising.

4 – Get there on time and stay till the end

You’ve paid good money for your stand and maybe travelled hundreds of miles so why are you not there?

Turning up late or, worse, sneaking off before the show has closed means someone else could be getting that last minute impulse buy.

A seasoned stall-holder told us he resisted the calls from his colleagues to head out three minutes early and he was right because it paid off with a big eleventh-hour order.

Squeeze every drop out of your day.

5 – Expect the unexpected

Sometimes a sale can just be down to sheer luck but you need to be ready to pounce when the break comes along.  You might have a fabulous looking stand but it could be just a case of a buyer stops to answer a text or even tie their shoelace in front of your exhibition stand. Get in there while they’re loitering and work your magic.

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