Here, Sussex Business Times introduces Steve Amos, Business Writing Coach at Katimira Ltd., who explains the steps and methods businessmen and women can take to ensure they represent their brand in the right way

On a recent visit to a business exhibition I noticed that several stands had been left unstaffed. This wasn’t for just a couple of minutes – I went round again and still found nobody there. At least one of these stands was for a company I was really interested in talking to, so they lost the opportunity to get my business.

Other stands were occupied, but by people who seemed more engaged with their mobile devices than potential customers. Their eyes were focused on the screens, not on making contact with people as they went by. In some cases I got the impression that this was quite deliberate, and that they weren’t going to engage with anyone unless it was absolutely unavoidable.

At least on this occasion I didn’t notice anyone munching their sandwiches, but I left before lunchtime, so who knows?
It costs a fair bit to exhibit at these events, and you will only get a return on your investment if you put in the effort once you’re there. So what constitutes good practice when exhibiting?

Be there! A stand with no-one present is worse than no stand at all – and much more expensive. Make sure there’s always someone present. Smile and make eye contact with people. These welcoming signals will encourage people to stop and find out more about you and your business.

Ask questions. Instead of launching straight into your sales pitch find out a bit about your potential customer first. People feel more at ease if they are invited to talk about themselves, and you may gather some useful information about which aspects of your goods or services may be of interest to them.

Give them your full attention. Most people think it’s rude if the person they’re talking to suddenly seems more interested in someone else. Don’t be distracted by other people passing by – if they are interested in your stand, they will come back to it.
Don’t talk at length about the features of your goods or services, however fascinating they may be to you. Instead find out a bit about your potential customer, then focus on how your goods and services might benefit them.

Follow up afterwards. After visiting a business exhibition it often all feels a bit of a blur, and hard to distinguish one exhibitor from another. Prompt follow-up will act as a reminder and distinguish you from other exhibitors.

Following these steps will help you to ensure that your investment in exhibiting will pay off, by generating interest in your business and creating new contacts and potential customers.