Monday, April 11, 2016

Structure Design Doesn't Matter

The most important thing when purchasing or looking to purchase a trade show exhibit to consider is the partnership you will create with the company you select to provide your booth or exhibit. There are many reasons I say this. Many of our customers have been with us for over 25 years. They trust us. We are honest with them. We provide them with phenomenal service. They like us. They could get a booth from MANY other companies, many of them even local.

But they stay with us. They know we will provide them with great product and a partnership that will last for years.
Image result for ask for references
  1. How long have they been in business?
  1. Are you working strictly with a salesperson that is compensated based on how much you spend?
  1. Are the owners of the company engaged in the business and active on a day to day basis?
  1. Does the company offer multiple lines of products so that you have a great selection or are they limited to only what they manufacture?
  1. Is the graphic printing technology the most current and up to date getting you the best products?
  1. Are the products well made, do the break easily, stand the test of time?
  1. Is the company listening to your needs?  Weight, function, set up time?
  1. Ask for references on the company, the products, their service.

We had a prospect visit our showroom last week.  They had been renting and 10 x 10 booth for 8 years from a local supplier.  I was shocked to say the least!  That company spent boatloads of money over the 8 years to rent that booth.  They could have bought 4 nice 10 x 10's for the money that had spent.

Everyone gets hung up on structure design.  Here is the reality.  Most of the decent trade show houses out there can build a nice booth.  If you have seen something you like, they can most likely build it.  Don't get me wrong, I am not encouraging taking another companies design and building it.  That is unethical.  Also don't misunderstand the difference between quality builds and cheap builds.  That is a whole different issue to be addressed later.  Cheap imported structure with fabric or vinyl graphics printed on printers that are 3 or 4 generations old are not a good investment.  But I digress.

Design is very subjective.  Think about clothing.  You can stand someone in front of 6 different people and ask them if they like the outfit you are wearing.  If they are honest you will most likely get 6 different answers.  Designers try to take thoughts, words and sometimes scrawling from a cocktail napkin and translate it into just exactly what the prospect wants.  Do they "nail it" every time?  Probably not.  But don't make your decision just on the concept alone!

If the prospect that had come into our showroom was our client, I would have chatted with them after the 2nd rental about potential purchase.  I never want to see a client throw away money.  It is a complete disservice to them!

Customer service and the partnership are ultimately more important than the booth design itself.  Guess what?  If you don't like the preliminary concept you can make changes.  Sometimes we have completely scrapped the first design and started over.  Did we miss the mark?  Not necessarily.  Sometimes the prospect is learning through this process more about what they want and can articulate it better as the process goes on.

Do you know what is ironic to me?  New companies buy from us all the time.  Often our best prospects are referrals.  But you know what?  I almost NEVER have anyone ask me for references.  I almost always offer.  I find that honestly a little strange.  That tells me people are focused more on the product than the service they will receive and I believe that to be a mistake.

Here are some questions to consider when selecting a partner.

Check out this great article from one of our manufacturing partners here for more insight in selecting an exhibit partner.

Happy Hunting
Lori Hanken has been in sales and marketing for over 30 years.  She is passionate about service and providing value to her vendors, prospects and clients.  Lori is currently co-owner of Total Displays with her husband David.  They help people look great at events, trade shows, in retail, museums and develop long partnerships with customers and suppliers.  If you would like to learn more, email her at lori@totaldisplays.com.  Connect with her on LinkedIn here.

Read other Total Displays Blog posts at http://totaldisplays.blogspot.com/

No comments:

Post a Comment