How to Run an Exhibition Stand

Published: 12th March 2010
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Prospects are high at trade fairs and exhibitions. The presenter makes use of the advantages offered at the show to display his products and services, to put across client-specific data and to stress his company's status as taught during his sales training.

An knowledgeable visitor, however, wants to obtain detailed information. As he is pressed for time and is under pressure to turn a profit, this information must be transmitted as efficiently as possible.

For an exhibitor, the success of a trade fair is dependent upon extensive and specific planning. The following points will help you, as an exhibitor, to communicate with the visitor to the trade fair.

Setting up the stand

To represent products and services effectively, it is essential to arrange them as part of a theme and for the stand to emphasise the most salient features, such as the size, appearance and content of the product group's structure. The client is then able to acquire the data quicker and grasp the ideas which interest him.

Stage-manage your entrance into the fair

Spectacular presentations increase the visitors' desire to talk to you and, thereby, increase his knowledge of what you have to offer. So that you can ensure that you customers know about your stand, you should use actual items that you can exhibit, any visuals such as projectors and pictures, live demonstrations. There should also be sound and the stand must be well lit.

A variety of impressions will bombard the guest, so stage-managing the presentation of your product is an important communicative skill!

Selecting exhibits and advertising

Stands at trade fairs should present new and remodelled products and services with their essential components against the background of the delivery programme.

The times, when the entire variety of a product was exhibited, are over. These days the trick is what is left out!

Prerequisite for success at the trade fair: trained and competent specialised personnel!

Providing clients with technical details and referring to the benefits they can enjoy arouses their interest and encourages them to discuss their requirements in more detail.

To present successfully, it is necessary to have a clear caption which sets it out from the rest and which is written in a recognisable style. This includes slogans, product identification numbers, reference numbers and nameplates of the stand's stock.

Information material

To complete the exhibit and demonstration, have written documents available, which will remind the client of your product. It is unimportant whether the necessary documents are taken from the stand at once or sent at a later date to interested parties: the latter possibility brings with it, among other things, further target-group addresses and offers a basis for the assessment after the trade fair is over.

It is important for the documents to be kept within reach and to be clearly laid out. Moreover, the stock of information documents must be kept in check, so that, if necessary, replacements can be obtained on time.

Stand personnel

The more specific the subject of the trade fair is, the more demands visitors make on those staffing the stands. Therefore, just trained specialist personnel should be delegated to man the exhibition stands. Staff representatives who, although specially qualified, are not interested in the running of a trade fair, throw away the opportunities which participation in a trade fair can offer an exhibitor.

It is therefore important that you ask your staff when identifying what your organisation wants to achieve at the exhibition. Fundamental ideas/concepts about the trade fair as a means of putting across information must be given (especially with regard to the trade fair in question and possibly to its location) and you must know what information the target group expects.

It goes without saying that the stand personnel must have as much technical and selling information as possible about your products. A good way to get the presenters focused on ways to deal with visitors in the best way is to hold a sales training session shortly before the trade fair.

Clearly marked stand information is also important to encourage questions, to help seek information and business contacts, as well as appointments. This task should be entrusted to those who know the company and the stand and who are well informed about the product on offer. When possible, you should use an established member of staff.

Inviting and catering for visitors

Targeting invitations makes an important contribution to preparing for a trade fair. This includes giving details about the location of the stand, particular presentations and information about new lines and special features.

One is often left with the impression that the aim of a trade fair is to give the client a good feed. But allowing for the costs of the exhibition, that should never be the idea. Get by with light refreshments and snacks - no alcohol, if possible.

You must always make it clear to your staff that the main aim of the trade fair is to present new lines and give out information about sections of the programme of which the client is unaware or is not buying!


In practice it is fundamental to have a stand leader. He is in charge of the smooth operation of the stand.

The presence of the business and sales management must always be guaranteed (if only temporarily) to greet significant clients and important visitors.

Trade Fair Check List

Formal criteria: Recognisable from afar. Stands out in a crowd. Congenial atmosphere. Recognisably integrated into the trade fair as a whole (with regard to subject).

Criteria as regards content: Clear presentation of subject. Attractive presentation. Products in operation. Short and clear explanations (text and pictures). Possible audio-visual support. Additional or secondary informative material.

Personnel criteria: Useful and competent information. Personal contact: opportunity available for good, intensive advice. Clients are looked after and catered for well and appropriately.

Implementing these key points will ensure effective running of your stand which given the cost of attending exhibitions is essential for business success. The required skills for handling clients can also be developed from sales training courses.


Richard Stone ( is a Director for Spearhead Training Limited that provides sales training courses aimed to improve business performance. You can view more techniques to motivate a sales force at =>

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