The less time you spend on each customer contact, the higher your satisfaction rate of the exhibition will be. As an efficient exhibitor you should be looking into how you can increase the number of contacts per hour. I can’t take credit for this piece of wisdom; this advice comes from Richard Montanus, former exhibition researcher at the RAI (Amsterdam Exhibition and Convention Centre), who now shares his expertise with exhibitors via his company Exporesult. After several years of research it can be stated that, on average, companies obtain less than two customer contacts per hour per person manning the stand. This fact, besides from answering the question about how many people you need to adequately man a stand, gives a clear indication that your cost-efficiency can be seriously boosted by increasing the number of contacts per hour per stand staff member.
Draw-up a flowchart for the optimisation of your contact-building process at the exhibition. Start with including the diverse phases ranging from the selection of visitors to their departure and all scenarios in between. Proceed by linking each phase of the contact-building process to the responsible person.
Describe the ideal kind of conversation (short and efficient) to be had per phase. So, who is going to address the visitors? Which questions need to be asked in order to determine their needs and if they are an interesting prospect (or a good existing business relation) or not? Depending on the visitor’s answers you will need to decide on how, and to whom, they should be passed on to, and on how to graciously but firmly take leave from an unpromising visitor. This line of thought should also be extended to the promising and interesting visitor or relation; conversations with these contacts shouldn’t last for longer than necessary and should be concluded in an efficient manner. Give some thought to useful buffers, such as offering good contacts a place to sit and wait with a beverage and/or a tasty treat.