We all know that exhibitions and trade shows are the perfect platform for businesses to meet new clients face to face, one on one, and for building strong customer relationships that may last many years, extending right through to the customers friends and family. But many businesses still do not realise just how important their presence and persona can be at an event.

Just as you would treat every person who walks into your store as a potential customer, the same must be said about the patrons who attend events, only at events they will be in there in their thousands, wandering past your display for multiple days. It is easy to become tired and less alert when working in such a busy environment, but stay alert you must.

Don’t underestimate how important being positive, focused and friendly can be. Body language is very important, if you’re in a good mood, patrons will notice this and be more likely to stop and talk with you. A friendly smile and greeting will leave a far better impression than a disinterested person playing on a mobile phone.

Not all sales happen immediately on the exhibition floor, but the impression you leave on potential customers may last a long time and bring you sales well into the future.

Here are 12 quick tips to help you build a strong first impression.

  1. If you are on your exhibition stand, you are there to sell, remain happy and alert at all times throughout the event.
  2. Remember that YOU are an advertisement for your business, people will remember you and what you say to them.
  3. Keep your staff motivated, positive and happy, encourage them to interact with patrons, not each other.
  4. Greet patrons with a friendly smile, ask simple open ended questions, ie: How are you enjoying the event?
  5. Talk to as many patrons as possible and where possible, ensure they leave with your contact details.
  6. Personal hygiene is important, wear deodorant, clean your teeth, brush your hair, and dress smartly. Do not party the night before an event.
  7. Consider wearing corporate clothing to identify you and your staff, patrons will know exactly who to talk to and will be more likely to approach you.
  8. Do not sit at the back of your site, do not read newspapers or play on your phone, it implies you are not interested, patrons will avoid you in droves.
  9. Avoid being drawn into negative conversations with patrons and other exhibitors, always be an optimist not a pessimist.
  10. Limit all personal mobile phone usage on your stand, wait until you have a break to check your emails and messages.
  11. Plan your staff breaks carefully, take shorter breaks during peak times, leave your site to eat/rest wherever possible.
  12. Ask people opinions of your products and services, you may be surprised at how much you can learn from a couple of day’s face-to-face marketing.

Remember, you may only have moments to leave a positive impression, make as many as you can.