June 24, 2013

Meeting with Show Management

Category: Articles — admin @ 4:55 pm

You should make an effort to get to know the people from the Trade Show producer, especially the people who are in the trenches, on the floor, doing the grunt work to insure the show will start on time and run efficiently with little or no problems. They can be your friend or they can make your trade show a nightmare.
For example: A trade show client had given me the responsibly of not only the training of the booth personnel but also the set up and the management of the booth. Little did I know that one of his company’s people had taken it upon himself, because he was going to make a great impression on the owner of the company, he was going to get the booth set up regardless of who he had to pester, threaten or insult.
By the time I had found out about this, he had alienated the person in charge of convention center workers who you hire to set up the booth. At this point in time the company was going to be one of the last booths to be set up and no doubt it will be late and therefore the company I was responsible for would have to pay over time to get the job done.
What you don’t want to happen at any trade show is to have your booth delivered late to your booth location, and you definitely don’t want to have to pay overtime for setup. It is not uncommon for additional expenses such as overtime and late delivery to double the cost of your trade show.
Well, after having a heart to heart conversation with the manager in charge of services, who I had met, and became friendly with at previous trade shows produced by this company, he relented and because it was me, helped me to get set up and not having to pay overtime fees. When I arrived back in New York I had the company send him a nice liquor basket (I knew he was a scotch drinker) thanking him for his help in make this trade show a success. I have no idea what happened to the company person who was the problem in the first place. All I know in future dealings he was no where to be found.
When you get the opportunity to meet the people from the trade show producer who work on the floor, treat them with respect because they have a tough job to do. When the show is finished, and you did have a successful trade show send this person or persons a letter thanking them for their effort, and copy their management as well. It will go a long way to you making a friend, and I am sure that they will remember you in the future. Many company exhibit managers, trade show consultants if they really know how to work a show will never forget to say “Thank you” to the trade show producers’ people on the trade show floor.

June 17, 2013

You Have Your Booth Space, but have you read your Exhibitor Manual? Pre-Show Effort

Category: Articles — admin @ 7:37 pm

You have researched the show where you want to exhibit. You have purchased a space and started to do your pre-show marketing. But, there is more to know than just your location.
You will receive a show manual from the show management. This manual contains everything you need to know about the show rules and regulations as well as the union rules. This will become your bible, read it carefully.
Check all the dead lines and target dates. Knowing this can save you money and headaches. Also see what the rules are for the sizes and shapes of exhibits in your area. There are different rules for inline booths, peninsulas or end cap booths and island booths. What are the rules for hanging signs?
Each show is different. One show might allow 22 foot high exhibits. Another may only allow 16 foot high. Some shows have rules where the sides of an inline booth must be only 4 foot high. Another show wants the whole booth to be 8 feet high.
Shipping your exhibit into a show on the wrong date can incur penalties. The manual will give you the date and time that shipments will be accepted for your booth number. Being early or being late can be a problem. Make sure your carrier is aware of the target dates. Also make sure your carrier is aware of the move out dates as well. Most important, hire a carrier that is familiar with trade shows and make all your arraignments well in advance for the inbound and out bound shipping. If the exhibit and materials are going to another show or coming back to you, make sure all the bills of lading are correct.
Ordering show services also has dead lines listed in the manual. Items and services you might need such as electric, electrical labor, carpet, rental furniture, waste baskets, booth cleaning, plumbing, internet access, union labor to install the exhibit and dismantle it at the end of the show, etc., should all be ordered before the posted dead lines to insure a discount. After the dead lines or ordering on the show floor, will increase the fees substantially.
Many items you can take care of your self. Read the manual carefully. For example, you must order electric for the both space, but you might be able to hook up lights yourself if the show and convention center rules permit it. Rules do vary from place to place. Also, if you own your own carpet, you still might have to order labor to install it. Know before you go. This way there will be no misunderstandings.
Also, keep rental items to a minimum or eliminate them all together. Bringing your own waste baskets and power strips for example can save you a bit of money. Renting those two items for a three day show would cost on average about three times as much as if you bought them, or purchased them locally.
Understand drayage or material handling. You will be charged for any material that comes into the convention center by its weight. There are minimums imposed on each shipment, so combine your shipments. If you are shipping brochures and giveaways make sure they go together with your exhibit. Most convention centers charge a 100lbs minimum for material handling. So a 1lbs FedEx envelope sent to your booth will be charged at 100lbs. Try to have items like that sent to your hotel. Even if your hotel charges a fee, it would be much lower.
If you need union labor to set up and dismantle your exhibit, you do not always have to hire the convention center’s contractor. Hiring their labor might have a four hour minimum. There are authorized labor companies that install and dismantle exhibits at the same or at a little higher rate per hour, but do not have the four hour rule. So if your exhibit only takes two hours to install, you can save a lot of money. A list of these authorized I&D (Installation & Dismantle) companies can be obtained from the convention center. You will have to fill out an EAC (exhibitor authorized contractor) form for this. It is in your manual.
READ the manual. Learn what you can do yourself and what you can’t. If you choose to hire an exhibit house to handle everything, ask what their mark up is on ordering show services and rental items. Any honest exhibit house will tell you. Mark ups can run from 25% to 100%. That’s right; some exhibit houses charge what ever the traffic will bear. For example, Drayage is very costly at most shows, if you pay for it yourself, you can save a lot as opposed to having the exhibit house doing it. Any item you can pre-pay on your credit card at a show will save you money. Also look out for hidden extra items such as carpet tape, visqueen (plastic sheet that protects the carpet during installation) cleaning supplies, extension cords, etc.
Yes these items are used, but make sure you are being charged your fair share. Don’t pay the price of a whole case of Windex when only one bottle was used.

If you do want your exhibit house to pay for part or everything that is required, you will also have to fill out a Third Party Billing Form. It is in your manual.
Become familiar with all the forms in the manual. Note that on some items such as carpeting, they list the higher priced ones first. Read the whole form before making any decisions.
The show manual is your friend. Yes it can be very thick, but it holds the clues to saving money and having a smooth show.

June 10, 2013

Contact information in the trade show directory – Pre-Show Effort

Category: Articles — admin @ 6:39 pm

Just listing the Company name, address and general telephone # in the trade show directly is telling the attendees that this is just another trade show. But if you list telephone # a person’s name to contact, now you have told the reader that we have assigned someone to this trade show and if you call we will be familiar with the trade show and the products or services that we had on display. One of the major problems of large companies is that when they are at a trade show their booth personnel are helpful, friendly, ready to assist when possible, and when the attendee leaves he or she feels like they have made a connection.
Now the trade show is over and everyone is back at their respected offices. A telephone call comes in from a person that had stopped at your booth, and they are now put through an inquisition. The conversation goes something like this.
Office: Good morning XYZ Company,
Response: My name is John Doe I stopped at your trade show booth in Las Vegas and I want to speak to someone in sales.
Office: what is this in reference too?
Response: I want to speak to someone in sales.
Finally the receptionist gives you to the Administrative aide or secretary in the sales department, and you have to state your business all over again.
If your caller had a name and a direct number of someone in the sales department that you could talk with all this wasted effort would be eliminated, and would certainly put your prospect in a better frame of mind, even wanting to do business.
(Note: some companies list a bogus name, and if a person calls to speak with that person the company knows that the person was at the trade show and anyone in the sales department will know the products or services that were on display at that trade show and can respond effectively).

June 4, 2013

Contacting key executives to visit your booth

Category: Articles — admin @ 6:43 pm

Not allocating sufficient time for the people you invite to your trade show is a major problem with many exhibiting companies. If you were to contact a president of a company for an appointment it may be 3 to 4 weeks before he or she can see you. If you invite that person to stop by your booth at a trade show it may take that person 3 to 4 weeks before he or she can make that type of commitment. If it is a trade show, out of state, it may take 4 to 6 weeks for that person to make a commitment.
Yet, today companies contact key people in a company and invite them to a trade show that opens in a week, to stop by their booth. How many key executives do you think will show up under these conditions? What impression do you give to a company, especially to a key executive, that you are trying to impression with your products or capabilities?
By not planning your contacting of key personnel in a timely fashion you give a poor impression to the individuals you are contacting, and in turn your company gets a bad rap as well.
If a trade show does anything it is suppose to expand your sphere of influence? Think about it, if this is a national trade show that is usually 3 to 4 days long with seminars and well known industry personnel as key speakers.
People from all over the United States, if not the world, attend major trade shows. Your company’s has the opportunity to make new contacts, establish new relationships and put your organization in the position to expand your business.
Company’s that you have already done, or are doing business with, want to see you expand and grow. They look forward to you increasing your sphere of influence. Although they are happy for you, what they really like is the fact that as they look as you are growing and expending you will be around for a few more years so that gives them comfort, as well as looking forward to new products and perhaps better pricing because more people are investing in your products.