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Avoid These 25 Common Mistakes Made by SEMA Show Exhibitors

  25 Common Mistakes webinar
  With effective pre-Show planning, you can draw the maximum number of buyers to your booth.
Creating a successful SEMA Show trip does not end at reserving booth space. As part of SEMA's ongoing effort to ensure exhibitors receive the most profitable experience possible, the association hosted a webinar entitled "25 Common Mistakes Made by SEMA Show Exhibitors," presented by ConvExx Chairman Chuck Schwartz, that steers exhibitors away from the common pitfalls of trade show exhibiting.

"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 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 create a pre-Show market plan.
* 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 your 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 creating a budget.
* Not following your budget.

7. Intellectual Property

* Not having records of your trademarks or IP protections.
* Not being 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 the 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.
* Not having your new products ready by Show time.
* Not having a press kit.
* Not having sponsorships.
* Forgetting directory listing.

17. Freight

* Not taking advantage of the small-exhibitor 1,000-lb. free-freight program.
* Not obtaining bids on shipping freight to the Show.

18. Booth Staff

* Not training your staff.
* Not creating a schedule.
* Lack of knowledge regarding booth and Show 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 CIC.

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 exhibit 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.

"SEMA did a survey of buyers once a few years ago to ask, 'What was the thing that you liked least about the SEMA Show?' and the number one answer was that exhibitors don't follow up on their leads," said Schwartz.

"There are some exhibitors at the SEMA Show who have linked the reader into their computers and are responding to the buyer while they are still there at the Show. If you don't do that, then Monday... you must respond to those leads. You must follow up on your leads."

"Every lead is gold," added Schwartz. "Everything you do to make your presence at the SEMA Show successful is more important than ever before."

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