Who will buy your wares?

Nichola Reeder

With just a few weeks remaining before the doors open to the industry’s flagship event, The FIT Show 2019, exhibitors up and down the land are busy prepping their stands and perfecting their opening lines before doors open to record numbers of visitors.But how ready are you and your squad to make FIT Show the catalyst to feeding your sales pipeline for 2019 and beyond? If you’re feeling slightly nervous that you’ve left things until the last minute, don’t panic, there’s still plenty of time to flex your exhibiting muscles and power up your performance asks Nichola Reeder

Did you know that over half of all visitors buy from an exhibitor they meet at a trade show within 12 months₁? But did you also know that on average, only 16-20% of visitors will be able to buy from your company₂?

So trade shows are lucrative marketing tactics, but only one fifth of the audience are potential customers – if that feels like a bit of a contradiction then it’s resolved by setting brilliant SMART objectives. Know who you want to meet, what you want to talk about, communicate with them before the show, filter out those that don’t add value and follow up brilliantly. Feels like a lot to do? Let’s break it down into five bite-sized chunks that make it easier for you to swallow.

Set smart objectives

Less than 30% of exhibitors do₃ and it’s the fundamental building block on which every other decision is anchored. Make sure you have 3-5 specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely objectives that you and your squad can deliver at the show. Spell out exactly who you want to meet, what problem you’re going to solve for them and what action you want them to take.


About why people need to come see you. It is the job of the organisers to get people to the show, it’s absolutely your job to get them to your stand. Why leave to chance that your most important contacts will randomly come across you in a packed show hall full of distractions. Use the next few weeks to engage with the people you want to meet through direct mail, social media, VIP Invitations and email marketing. And don’t just tell them you’re exhibiting – show them what they’ll be missing out on if you’re not on their Must-See list.

Select your squad

Trade shows are hard work, mentally, physically and emotionally – not everyone is naturally good at them! We assume people know what to do at an exhibition, but we’ve seen award winning sales people freeze when confronted by hundreds of random strangers. Think about who might be in your team and balance your Hard-Sell Hanks with your Chatty Charlies to get the best out of everyone! And then train them so everyone knows what’s expected of the collective team.

Filter visitors

You simply don’t have time to spend with every visitor and you’re there to win business, not make friends. Start by spending 10 minutes working out your opening lines so you can spot a tyre kicker from an interested browser in 30 seconds. Go back to your objectives and be crystal clear everyone knows who you want to meet and how you’re going to move them along the buying path.

Follow up

87% of exhibitors never follow up leads₄ – what’s the point of it all then? Pre-plan your contact strategy before the show so you’re not sitting down with a stack of business cards and no idea what to say when you’re already tired from the show. Personalise the response to those visitors who were high on your priority list and remember it takes on average at least Seven contact points post-show before a conversion. Including a photo of your stand in your follow up email will help remind a visitor who you are – they’ll have seen hundreds so you can’t blame them for forgetting you.


I know I said five but consider this one a freebie… Don’t Eat On Your Stand! Getting sprayed with sandwich or feeling as though you’re interrupting someone’s lunch are amongst the biggest complaints from visitors.

How are you feeling now? Energised? Terrified? Inspired? Whatever your current state of mind spending just an hour now thinking through your objectives, opening lines and follow-up plan will produce a massive positive boost to your show and get you feeling FIT and ready for doors opening on May 21st. We look forward to seeing you there.

Nichola Reeder is a director and co-founder of ProExTra with over 15 years’ experience working in live events as an exhibitor and organiser for several international brands. She is also co-author of The Exhibitionist: Inspiring Trade Show Excellence available from the 16th May via Amazon or pre-order at

www.inspiringexhibitors.com .