We recently exhibited at our first trade exhibition – the Entrepreneurs Organisation Global University – London at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane.
It was an inspirational event with speakers including Michelle Mone, the founder of Ultimo, Jim Lawless, former jockey and free diver, the journalist Matthew Syed, and the whole event was hosted by Gyles Brandreth. He was hilarious.
They shared their wisdom and experience on areas as diverse as getting publicity for your bra business, mindfulness & using innovation and technology to enhance your business.
The trade exhibition had a wide range of exhibitors, from luxury holiday accommodation to new financial apps – plus Bold Clarity, talking about the Entrepreneurial Operating System.
For us, the event was fantastic. We spoke to hundreds of business owners about how EOS could help their business – and gathered lots of interest.
The Entrepreneurs Organisation has a strict non-solicitation policy, however, for the EOXpo, we were able to promote our services.
As it was our first trade exhibition, it was a big learning curve, so I thought it might be worth us sharing some of the lessons we learned.
1. Make sure it’s the right target market
Our target market is businesses which turn over £5-50million, with 10-250 employees.
We knew that every single person at the EO University matched their target market.
And the very fact they were at the University was an indication they were open to learning, and keen to explore how they might run a better business.
So every single attendee was a potential lead.
2. Everyone likes a free gift
If you have a give-away, it’s an excellent way to capture leads.
We gave away gifts of a book about EOS – either Traction or Get a Grip, and for every one we gave away, we asked people to fill in their contact details.
And do you know, everyone happily gave them. No-one said no. And we came away with over a 100 business names.
We offered each business a complimentary 90 minute webinar to introduce EOS in more detail.
3. Consider how you promote your free gift
We arranged for a flyer redeemable for a free book to be placed in the event goodie bags. Unfortunately our flyer was stuck inside a Visit London booklet, making them difficult to find.
Our learning was that next time, we’re going to ask the organisers to place the vouchers on tables at the general session.
In the end, we gave away books as people came to the stand, which it worked absolutely fine.
4. Professional branding is key
We had a range of marketing materials, including flyers, bookmarks and stickers.
What was important to us was to make sure they had a clean, consistent, professional look and told a compelling story.
Our flyers had a simple message and a catchy headline, which really resonated with people.
5. Stand furniture
We found the most effective way to display our marketing materials was to order specifically designed plexiglass holders for the flyers, business cards and portable free-standing signs.
6. No barrier
We found it worked best to push the table back and stand in front, so there was no barrier between us and our visitors. Today shoppers are educated and empowered and want to be able to stand side-by-side and discuss the offer.
7. Have a back-up plan
We thought the best way to capture leads would be on a computer sign-up form feeding straight into a spreadsheet, which we created on Google Forms.
When it came to it, no-one wanted to fill in anything on a computer, and they all used the paper forms we had created as a back-up at the last minute.
And finally – we had a big bowl of white chocolate truffles to give away. By the time we closed up shop at the trade exhibition, this was all we had left.