For a new potential exhibitor, trade show pricing can be intimidating. Most trade show booths are in the thousands of dollars and if you multiply that by the number of shows exhibitors plan per year, you can see why they might be sweating the details.
In addition, according to International Meetings Review, the majority of growth for booth sales is going to be with small to medium sized companies, who are already stretched with finite talent and resources.
But it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. If you are willing to be creative and flexible, there are ways to get the new exhibitor at your show.
Seven Show Solutions
Provide a Justification Tool Kit
Organizations such as Construction Financial Management Association, CMAA and Power Nigeria already have developed such kits; all you need to do is tailor and tweak it to your conference. Exhibitors need resources to help them justify the expenses and lay out the benefits to their management, especially since your trade show exhibitor has never pitched this type of expense to their boss before.
Create a Booth in a Box Option
Rather than inundating new exhibitors with complicated contracts and the need to work with 10-12 separate suppliers, create a turnkey solution that has one fixed for everything they will need.
Offer a New Exhibitor Discount
You can offer a one-time discount to entice them to your show. My recommendation is that you not be too aggressive, because if you are, they will be “one and done” when it comes to your trade show. 10-15% is reasonable and not so low they can’t come back and justify an increase to their boss next year.
Discount One Item
Discount drayage, electricity or carpet rather than discounting the entire exhibitor fee.
Let Them Bring in Their Own Vendors
Whether it is an audio visual rental company or computer rental organization, most potential exhibitors have relationships with companies that may or may not be on the show manager’s list. When new exhibitors are “forced” to work with unknown vendors, it creates more stress for them. Make it easy for them to say yes to your show by eliminating this obstacle.
Create a “Non-Booth” Experience
This is where you will need to become creative with options and space. Perhaps you let them come into the trade show for a day with their iPad rentals and park in an open space. Or you invite them to a “meet and greet” event with other exhibitors.
This option is a bit touchy because of the recent trade show piracy that has been going on where non-exhibitors are showing up at trade shows and poaching on potential customers. The key here is to have rules and a way to clearly identify who is part of your show and who is not.
Show Them Around
New exhibitors need to be mentored and feel welcomed. Have the show manager introduce them to potential new clients, seasoned exhibitors and give them a tour of the show. Have them come in earlier than the rest of the exhibitors in order to spend more one-on-one time with them.
In summary, try one or more of these options to grow your show. Once you get potential exhibitors on the trade show floor, it is should be easy to bring them back year-after-year.