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Making the Most of Exhibitions: Our 30 Years of Experience Distilled into 8 Top Tips

2020 is in full swing now (we’re wondering how it’s March already!) and exhibition season is on the horizon for many industries.

With over 13 million people attending an event each year, we still strongly believe in the power of these events - even in today’s digital world!

It comes down to the fact that people buy from people. Sure, you need a good product, and we can never endorse or work with something we don’t believe in – but ultimately the sales pitch comes from you. And they’ll bite if they like you and won’t if they don’t.

Exhibitions offer the ultimate feeding ground to ‘sell yourself’ and what you do to a whole new bunch of faces you may not have otherwise reached. Plus, the very act of attending the event means they’re in a buying mode!

The team at Advennture Design have 30 years combined experience in exhibitions and how to really make the most of them. After all, they’re not cheap – so you need to make sure they’re worthwhile and more than just an opportunity ‘to be seen’.

Here’s our 8 top tips to taking your exhibition ROI to a new level.


Everyone loves a freebie at a show – fact. From a pen, stress ball or simple leaflet we’ve seen and gathered them all. And we’re sure you have too.

But that’s exactly our point. We’ve all seen them. How often do you get something at an exhibition that actually stands out or that you’ve never seen before?

A bag full of leaflets seems like research-gathering to an ‘exhibitionee’ at the time, but when they get back to the office can they really be bothered to go through all 100 leaflets they collected? Chances are – not so much. And they all end up in the bin.

You need to be the most dominant thing in that bag. The most surprising, colourful, heavy! Anything to make you stand out and avoid becoming tomorrows scrap paper. Think outside the box.


Got a sample of your product you’re happy to give away? Brilliant! What better to hand over than a sample of what you’re actually trying to sell.

But don’t undersell yourself. Ask for something in return. A simple contact details exchange (in line with GDPR, of course) offers the perfect opportunity to follow-up the sample to a sale. Find out how they got on with it, did they like it, do they have any feedback? If you’ve got their contact details, they’re a lead – and a lead that’s already tried and knows your product! Ker-ching!


If you use paper lead capture forms or even iPads, PLEASE put them down! Is there anything more salesy than a guy with a clipboard? That’s what you look like with those things in your hand 24/7. Put them to one side and enjoy a relationship-building chat. If and when the time comes, the prospect will be much happier to hand over their details having got to know and like you first. Suddenly that form or iPad doesn’t look so salesy, but more like a way to continue your conversation.


A strong stand design is key. If your stand looks shabby, visitors will assume the same about your company and service. But when designing your graphics, just be mindful not to give them everything up front. Play hard to get! If you put every detail about your product on the graphics, not only will it be exhausting to read, you give the visitors too much opportunity to make their own mind up about your product without the need to speak to you. Give just enough to intrigue!


Even with the best stand positioning in the world, it’s crucial to build momentum and excitement before the date of the event. Without doubt, visitors run out of time at exhibitions or miss stands that they wanted to see – especially at big venues like NEC or Olympia.

Think about what you can do to entice people to your stand and make sure YOU’RE a priority! For example, if you’re in the food industry – you could run an email or social media campaign asking people to choose their favourite chocolate bar. Once they choose, they’ll be a bar with their name on waiting for collection from your stand!

Think personal. Think relevant.


In todays world we don’t all have to dress super smart for the office. Trainers, hoodies and even office slippers are often a part of the dress code. But you need to drop all that for these events and go old-school.

Remember when we said people buy from people? Well you are those people! You need to scream professionalism and show just how much you care about your business. So dig out your best glad rags and think ‘Smart’.


Exhibition traffic is never constant. First and last thing can often see a real dip in traffic with staff on the stand getting restless and switching off. Why not put that down time to better use?

There’s always a restaurant, café or meeting space at these events. Send a person or two down to enjoy a well-earned coffee and start inputting leads into your CRM system straight away. That way, Monday morning back in the office doesn’t look so chaotic and you’ve got time to get on with the most important job of all – following up those leads!

Often, visitors will have looked at and now be considering several products – not just yours. The quicker you can process the leads and get in touch, the more likely you are to beat demand and win the sale.


Having said that, remember we’re all human. We can’t function without food, water and rest. Shock! The same applies for working at exhibitions. All TOO often we’ve experienced no lunch break policies or the inability to even visit the toilet for 5 minutes.

No-one is ever so busy that they aren’t entitled to re-fuel and reset.

We guarantee your staff will perform better if they have small but regular breaks. Tired staff only leads to tired sales pitches!

Advennture Design can assist with exhibition materials, stand graphics and promotion. Just email us on hello@advennturedesign.comin good time before your event!

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