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Understand Your Buyer and Plan well for Sales on the Stand
Who are your buyers and what is your offering? Clearly understand what your objectives are and what you want from the Gift Fair. Is it orders, market research, PR, linking up with new buyers? 

The more you do before the Gift Fair, the better results you get. Buyers can get an idea of what you are offering, demonstrating, launching… Use your own database and outlets to get your message out there into the marketplace, as well as the AGHA's channels.

Make sure you clearly articulate your point of difference from your competitors:

  • Reliability
  • Honesty 
  • Loyalty 
  • Price
  • Exclusivity 
  • Innovation

Remember you are in an exhibition environment where there are potentially direct competitors of yours just around the corner. On the stand sales is a very different scenario to being on the road.

Practice the sales delivery with your team prior to the Gift Fair. What is your story, your product features, your uniqueness, your value proposition and your pricing? Don't be afraid to ask questions and re-package if necessary. 

It's a very competitive world out there. You don't have to be the cheapest, you just need to have the better value proposition. 

More importantly: Listen to what the buyer wants and don't be afraid to ask for the order AND payment to confirm the order.

Things to remember whilst trying to engage with potential customers:

  • Smile – look at their badge: Are they your buyers? 
  • Ask questions pertinent to your offering... not the usual: how are you today. Something like: what product lines do you have....
  • Maximise your time with the buyer. Remember you need to get to the point and qualify very quickly. The more time you spend with one client means that several clients are walking passed your stand.

A busy stand always tends to bring more business. Planning for multiple customers is important, and comes back to how you manage your orders and enquiries on your stand.

Merchandising and stand build also entices buyers. Make sure your stand is workable, inviting and displaying your product adequately.

Consider your product mix, and how you are presenting. Don't be afraid to innovate your stand, refresh it and make it enticing for visitors. Visitors don't want to see the same stand and merchandising at every Fair. Changes can be dramatic, or simple. Refreshing your display refreshes the offering for both you and the visitor.

You and your team are generally the biggest asset in an exhibition environment. Make sure your team are vibrant, educated on the product, stand offering but more importantly are engaged in the objectives and opportunities at the Gift Fair.

It's the little things that sometimes gets people flustered. It's great to get the sales process and order management finalised, but also think about what you need on the stand. 

  • Scanners or order books
  • Stationery: stapler, pens, paper, business cards
  • Sales kit – but be sure not to waste these on people who aren't really your buyers

Make sure you do what you say you will do post Gift Fair. 

The biggest buyers' complaint is that people forget to follow on the orders or requests made on the floor.

Stay in contact and keep your buyers updated on PR, new products and information on your company throughout the year. 

The Fair helps your gain exposure to new and current clients, but it's up to you to maintain those relationships throughout the year. Remember it's not just your product that is on the line, it's your reputation too.

Review the sales results or objectives you set post event. Learn from your experience, don't be hard on yourself, just grow your business and processes for future events.

Exhibitions lifecycle is never ending. Contacts made at the Gift Fair, whilst they may not order at the stand, results may come in 2, 4 or 6 months after the event. The more you maintain the relationships built at the Fair, the more successful you can be.

Some post Gift Fair tips are:

  1. Follow up on the date you agreed to OR within a week of the Gift Fair
  2. If you can't make the deadline, contact the buyer – stay in touch
  3. Consider a face to face appointment. Emails are great, but they can easily be deleted
  4. Its always nice to have a generic thank you email to all those leads/orders you took on the stand. Its another 'touchpoint' that a lot of exhibitors fail to do, and makes sure the customer has your contact details
  5. Any suppliers that helped you along the way may also deserve a quick thank you. Keeps you in good stead for future work
  6. If you received any media/PR during the Fair, say thanks and send any follow up information that may be pertinent
  7. Don't forget those buyers (and/or) media who were invited but didn't attend. Don't let them off the hook. Send some information about your success at the Gift Fair, and news-worthy information, product details etc. Keep in contact and let them know that they've missed out on an opportunity.

Relationships are hard to get in the first place. Exhibitions provide a great personal touch, its then up to you to maintain and nurture beyond the Gift Fair floor.