Prepare a professional trade show

Preparing for a trade show

Participation in international trade shows is an excellent way to meet new buyers and expand your international network, especially when exploring new markets. This is an opportunity for you to present your company to a wide number of prospects and make initial contact with them. Follow these tips in order to optimise your participation.

Visit a trade show | Participation in an exhibition

Visiting a trade show

Before you consider participating in a trade show, attend the show as a visitor. The visit will allow you to choose the most appropriate products for your exhibit, identify strategic locations and give you a general idea about how to participate as an exhibitor. Learn about the latest products, the most relevant communication media associated with exhibiting and establish initial contacts with the organisers.
Visiting exhibition stands allows you to get an idea of the strengths and weaknesses of different events and to select the ones which would be most suitable for your company's products. A visit to an exhibition stand requires preparation and is an investment from which one must derive maximum returns. It is impossible to visit all the stands. Therefore you should consult the exhibitors catalogue and seek out your competitors' stands and the stands of other businesses related to your field.

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Participation in an exhibition

Preparation of an exhibition stand is crucial to success at a trade show. Before taking any steps, the company should set up a 12 month planning schedule. Preparation is decisive because it is what determines if the trade show will be a success or failure for your business.


One important detail: make sure you get an ATA Carnet for your exhibit and your samples so that you do not have to pay duties for bringing them into and out of your country and the country where you are exhibiting.

Timing Tasks to be accomplished Observation
12 months Location of the stand Reserving a stand early means you will have most strategic location.
11 months Select products that appeal to the targeted public. The products are to be selected according to the targeted public.
10 months Plan decoration of the stand
Hotel reservation
The decoration must be carefully and well designed, as it has a direct effect on attracting visitors.
Hotel rooms have to be reserved in advance, since hotels are often fully booked during exhibition periods.
9 months Design of the stand
Preparation of equipement to be exhibited
The period of designing varies according to the type of the stand. A personalised stand requires a longer period than what is required for the stand delivered by the organiser.
It should be set up to conform with the mode of transport.
8 months Reservation of water and power connections (telephone, fax, etc)  
7 months Finalise promotional material Traffic to your stand can be increasd with good promotional material.
6 months Set PR strategies Set up your PR policy for the event: in the country in order to attract your prospects but also in your home country to highlight your activities. Think about what activities will take place at our stand.
5 months Build your team Assemble and train your team: select employees who will accompany you at the show and explain their roles in this event. Hire local personnel if needed.
4 months Verification of equipment
Reservation for transport of equipment
Preparation of marketing material (printed folders, catalogues,etc.)
Buy advertising in the trade show catalogue.
For transport of goods hire a freight forwarder experienced with international trade shows.
3 months Reservation of air tickets
Verification of passports
Preparation of invitations cards
Invitations are the best means of ensuring that the visitors have intereste and will visit your stand.
2 months Application for insurance
Application for visas (if necessary)
To undergo the necessary vaccinations
1 month Application for ATA Carnet
Mail invitations
The last days Despatch of products
Departure of personnel
Maintenance of the stand
Verification of the stand
Verification of products
Check on safety and security
The period of shipping of products can be longer in the case of distant destinations and the management of the stand depends on the opening of the exhibition stand to the exhibitors.

The cost

Setting up an exhibition stand is costly, but it should be considered to be an investment.
The expenses to be incurred are as follows :

Exhibition costs Hiring of the stand Advertisment in exhibitors catalogue
Registration fees and badges
Arrangement costs Partition, furniture, decoration
Lighting and water supply connection
Assembly and breakdown
Telephone, WIFI, etc.
Cleaning the stand
Marketing costs Free invitations
Mailings expenses
Brochures and printed folders
Samples and promotional equipment
Expenses relating to the products Packing
Personnel costs Transport

Once the trade show is over, it is necessary to create a report that tracks the results from participation. The report will allow you to assess the quality and number of contacts made at the show. Sort your contacts into different categories, such as the type of special offer, the degree of interest of the prospect or their level of credibility. You can create a list of priority contacts and more easily adapt your substantial leads in each profile.

The report will also allow you to step back on the event. Perform an analysis of the information gathered and identify the positive aspects and areas for improvement.

A week following the show you should send a thank you message to your visitors for their visit to the stand and responses to whatever questions or requests they had. Responsiveness is crucial and it is best to customise each message to get the attention of your partner. Good monitoring demonstrates your professionalism and allows you to enter into negotiations with new customers, to respond to requests collected on the show and to confirm orders.

Participation in trade shows is a good way to make your business known and to promote your products. The company strengthens customer loyalty and creates new opportunities by meeting prospective foreign customers

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