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Let’s hear it for the managers of trade show stands with apologies to Gladiator

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Posted by , 20th November 2018

This post recognises and salutes the huge role that stand managers play in the financial success of their companies at trade shows

Stand managers of the world, you probably don’t need this talk but I’m going to give it to you anyway.

It’s for those days when you wonder why you were you so unlucky to be nominated as the stand manager for your business.

Here’s to you all and the great work that you do.

What is this job all about?

Management of a trade show stand puts you in the sales business, not the organising business. 

That’s why it’s one of the most exciting and fulfilling roles that you can have whether that’s full or part-time.

Stand management allows you to play a direct part in the growth and sales fortunes of the company that you work for.

It provides you with an excellent platform for career progression and for your own personal development.

“I would make a great stand manager because I’m such a good organiser.”

Yes, on the face of it, stand management is about organising things. Lots and lots of things and details.

From the booking of sites at individual events to organising the building of stands, the production of graphics and a list of other tasks as long as your arm. 

Yes, organising things is all part of the job but really, stand management is about being a business builder for your company. 

And do you know what, for me, that’s the most exciting part of the job and the most exciting part of trade shows.

Whether you are organising the whole show or one stand within it.

You get to facilitate revenue growth and that’s a skill that many businesses need right now.

Where your “organising” focus should really be

As a stand manager, your focus should always be on creating the best possible result from event participation.

Many people label this as ROI. The hard sales results that can be measured in the weeks and months after an event.

These measures of success are of course vital.

Your business needs an excellent return on the money invested otherwise why exhibit?

But ROI by itself is usually (not always if you track sales accurately) a short-term measure.

The best possible results from event participation will:

  • Deliver the ROI – People; that means hard sales and the leads that lead to sales
  • Create positive brand awareness for your business – this is longer-term sales development work
  • Provide market feedback and information that you can learn from and build on to sharpen your product offering or service
  • Improve the sales skills and market knowledge of the colleagues working with you at each event

That’s a pretty exciting list and YOU get to make all of those good things happen.

All of the organising you do pre-show must always have this bigger outcome in mind.

Your organising skills are a means to an end, not, the end itself 

If you are new to stand management, this is an important distinction to grasp.

The size of your stand, it’s shape, the stunning graphics that go on it, are all designed to help your company do one very important thing.

Attract more of the people that you most want to be doing business with now and in the future.

If you are an experienced stand manager, you already know this and you probably get a buzz everytime you see your work succeed.

It’s a great feeling.

Trade show organisers enjoy a similar feeling when they see the audience they have promised their exhibitors come through the doors of their events.

When this happens an organiser knows that good things will occur for many of the exhibitors in the halls.

Especially for those exhibitors who have prepared in advance to make the most of the opportunity that the show has created.

Why you are so valuable to the companies that you work for

  1. You can engineer new sales and do so frequently as already mentioned
  2. You also save valuable marketing money from being wasted
  3. You achieve these results (usually) while holding down a “day job” that’s unrelated to events

One of the biggest positive characteristics of trade shows when compared with other forms of marketing is that you know whether the leads delivered are of a high quality.

This is because you meet those “leads” in person. They are real. There is no guesswork involved about whether they actually visited your stand (your site) or not.

So you save your company money every time you stop them from taking part in events that don’t deliver the right people. Or, where you know the objectives are too vague to produce tangible measures of success.

You may also be instrumental in helping your business develop new markets and new applications for existing products and services.

New exhibitions and conferences. International events. Running corporate events and meetings of your own are all event-related activities that you take care of.

You are also highly valuable because you can lead teams and you do so every time your company exhibits.

Successful events need teamwork before, during and after the event.

But teamwork built during a show is one of the long-lasting positive effects of stand management. Successful events are talked about and celebrated long after they have taken place.

As are the social events that become the stuff of legends and maybe a hangover or two as well.

There aren’t many people in your business that can bring all of these skills together and execute as well as you do.

Marketing expert as well as organiser

I started this off by saying that you were in the sales business.

Many stand managers reading this will object and say that they work in marketing.

They hate the word SALES. It’s a word that’s not in their job title and they don’t see themselves anywhere near “that” part of the business. Fair enough…

But here’s the thing.

Many stand managers do work in sales. They have that word in their job titles but they are also excellent marketing people too.

They must be because they know how to attract people to stands.

They know how to provide great follow-up materials, stats and reports just like their marketing colleagues do.

So whatever your job title, you are both highly valuable to your businesses because you produce positive financial results.

For a great example of a trade show manager who combines both skillsets read this article about Annette Tarlton.

For all of the reasons above and to borrow and mangle a quote from Gladiator … Stand Managers of the world, we salute you!

Posted in Stand Management  /  Trade show advice  /  Trade show marketing  /  Trade show sales

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