Business Tools


As part of an ongoing effort to ensure the most profitable experience for this year’s SEMA Show exhibitors, SEMA hosted the “25 Common Mistakes Made By SEMA Show Exhibitors” webinar, presented by ConvExx Chairman Chuck Schwartz.

“I think we are all going to find that if we prepare for the Show knowing what our expectation really needs to be, we will be very successful and we will get the return on the investment that we expect,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz outlined the following 25 mistakes that exhibitors must avoid:

1.    Pre-Show Marketing

  • Failure to pre-Show market 
  • Failure to include the Show in your company’s plan or budget

2.    Suitcasers

  • Allowing a suitcaser (an individual who comes to the Show with their booth in their briefcase to try and sell their products to you as well as steal your buyers) to occupy your time.

3.    Show Expenses

  • Lack of control over Show expenses.
  • Not putting staff on per diem.
  • Lack of budgeting for entertaining buyers.

4.    Plan

  • Lack of a clear plan and timeline.

5.    Badges

  • Not ordering badges.

6.    Budget

  • Not making one.
  • Not following it.

7.    Intellectual Property

  • No records of your trademarks or IP protections.
  • Not equipped with documentation of patent or trademark protection.

8.    SEMA Help

  • Not utilizing SEMA assistance when facing various difficulties, including suitcasers, damages, injuries, thefts, etc.

9.    Deadlines

  • Missing deadlines and, as a result, paying too much.

10.  Hotels

  • Picking hotels by quality and not by price.
  • Putting staff in different hotels.

11.  Booth Installation

  • Failure to schedule booth labor properly.
  • Hiring temps from outside—a no-no. 
  • Not testing your booth at home.
  • Lack of a back-up plan.

12.  Electrical

  • Not providing a layout for your electrical order.
  • Not being aware of power needs.
  • Forgetting to budget for labor and wattage.

13.  Rules and Regulations

  • Breaking display rules and having to redesign your booth on-site.

14.  Handouts

  • Not bringing enough flyers or catalogs to the Show.

15.  Be in Shape

  • Not being prepared for 10% humidity, causing dehydration.

16.  Marketing at the Show

  • Missing out on a feature vehicle program.
  • New products not ready at Show time.
  • No press kit.
  • No sponsorships.
  • Forgetting a directory listing.

17.  Freight

  • Not taking advantage of the small-exhibitor 1,000-lb.-free freight program.
  • No bids on shipment to Show.

18.  Booth Staff

  • Not trained.
  • No schedule.
  • Doesn’t know rules.

19.  International

  • Not attending the international marketplaces to learn how to market outside the United States.
  • Not using the free trade leads program in the Center for International Commerce.

20.  Seminars

  • Not attending seminars or having staff attend to learn about trends and forecasts in the industry.

21.  Assuming that sponsorships were over the company’s budget—not looking for a sponsorship in the price range or contacting Motor Media Inc. to be creative.

22.  Exhibit Rendering

  • Not sending a rendering of the exhibit's floorplan in advance to eliminate problems on site.

23.  Association Booth

  • Not stopping by the association booth to find out about special programs that can save money throughout the year.

24.  eNews

  • Not looking for exhibitor updates to find out the latest breaking news about the Show.

25.  Leads

  • Not protecting leads against loss.
  • Not assigning staff to follow up.
  • Not following up within five days after the Show.

For a full audio or PDF download of this webinar, click here.

Don’t miss these upcoming webinars:

  • “Make 2009 Turn Out Fine: It’s Only the Little Things that Matter,” Thursday, September 4, 10:00 a.m. (PDT)
  • "Listen to Your Customers: Their Opinions Really Do Matter,” Thursday, September 18, 10:00 a.m. (PDT)