Ignoring visitors at your peril

Following on from our suspicion that younger visitors to business exhibitions could be being ignored, we sent Guy off again to a second exhibition. This time, one aimed at a fairly young audience of sports clubs, where his age may not be a contributory factor to him being ignored.

It was a less busy show and on average people greeted him in less than 3 seconds, which I’m sure you’ll agree is pretty good. These exhibitors get a big thumbs up from us.

But, what he was quite surprised at finding was that three out of 25 exhibitors that he visited completely blanked him. Not even a whisper of a greeting. So, he upped the ante to show them he was a ‘real’ potential lead. He thumbed through leaflets on their stands, showed all the signs of interest – including the nod of interest and a casual grin that you’d expect to see in a potential lead to say “hello, talk to me”. Still no contact.

The exhibitors were stood (or in some instances sat), well aware of his presence but scrolling through their phones, completely oblivious to the fact that by ignoring him they’ve shown themselves as bad exhibitors.

Marler Haley naughty exhibitors infographic

Ignore visitors at your peril

To ignore anybody at an exhibition seems futile. The aim of exhibiting should be to drive brand awareness, sales, launch a new product and generally get people excited about what you do. With a short amount of time to get your message across to potentially thousands of passers-by it’s not just your stand that has to look visually appealing.

You are your brand when you’re on your stand. As such, your actions – both good and bad – are a direct reflection on your products and services.

By standing on your exhibition stand (or indeed in some instances to sit on it) and ignore potential customers, regardless of their age, you’re telling passers-by that you don’t care about them. You don’t need their business. So what would any self-respecting visitor do?

They’d look to your competitors. Your brand is now no longer in the run in for that person’s, and their company’s, business.

It’s such a waste of potential and it doesn’t need to be that way.

Bad exhibiting practice

We know from previous research that 63% of exhibitors do not follow exhibiting advice and best practice. From 44% of people using mobile phones while on an exhibition stand, to 71% of people not measuring ROI, the results were astounding.

Mixed with the above, our findings from a visitor’s perspective of being ignored as a consequence of exhibitors not following best practice could result in serious consequences for exhibitors.

What may seem like a simple thought of “we’re not busy so I’ll check my phone or rest my feet”, may actually result in a loss of sales and reputation.

What could have been a positive experience and an opportunity to grow a new relationship, could have been shattered.

So, we’d always suggest brushing up on best practice before your event – making sure that mobiles are banned, greeting passers-by with at least a smile etc. Speak to your exhibiting team about expectations to make sure that everybody is performing at their best and knows the do’s and don’ts of the exhibition floor.

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