It is an unfortunate truth that you can longer count on event exhibitors to come back year after year. As times have changed, there is more competition. Therefore, it is only natural for event exhibitors to look for the best and lest expensive options for events where they have an exhibition booth. Just as the event world is ever-changing, so are the vendors and exhibitors.
To survive, event planners and exhibition planners must be prepared to change with the times. Those who continue to use the same old methods will lose exhibitors, which will also result in the loss of revenue. You don’t want to be these people. Instead, you should continue to look for creative, unique ways to find exhibitors and get them to commit to your event. By thinking creatively and taking the initiative, you will succeed.
For those of you hoping to find companies that exhibit at events, here is a quick guide to finding and securing event exhibitors.
Basic Ways to Find New Event Exhibitors
Before we jump into the step-by-step rules for reaching out to exhibitors on your own, let’s look at the basic ways event exhibitors may find their way to you.
1. Word of Mouth: Of course, the best way to secure new exhibitors is by word of mouth. Therefore, it is imperative that you always go above and beyond when you are planning your events and working with exhibitors and sponsors. For example, your strategies for driving traffic to exhibitors’ booths will make others recommend you, which takes some of the work from you.
2. Be an Official Vendor for an Event: If you have the ability (aka the funds) to be an official vendor for an event, then you have the potential to make a name for yourself with potential exhibitors. This official recommendation often includes marketing and promotion drawing even more potential exhibitors your way.
3. Through Other Exhibitors: As you exhibit, be prepared to meet other exhibitors who come by your stand or booth. By promoting yourself at events to other exhibitors, you will open doors to future collaborations.
The Steps You Must Take When Contacting Event Exhibitors Directly
While the above work mainly by word of mouth or recognition, the most effective way to find and secure new event exhibitors or companies interested in exhibiting at events is to contact them directly using standard sales techniques. Let’s break down the steps.
1. Make a list of potential event exhibitors. Begin by making a giant list of all the potential event exhibitors in your industry.
2. Narrow your list by geography. Next, narrow this giant list down by other factors such as geography. This will immediately eliminate some on the list.
3. Narrow your list again by size. Then, narrow the list by the size of the organization. For instance, if you are looking for companies, then you should have an ideal sized company you are seeking.
4. Find contact information for the key decision makers. Now that your list has been narrowed down, you should begin searching for the contact information for the key decision makers. You should always go directly to the person most likely to sign off on a deal.
5. Identify the potential exhibitor’s needs and how you can meet these needs. Before you contact those remaining on your list, you must identify what each potential exhibitor needs and how you plan to meet these needs at your event. This will help you in the next step.
6. Prepare event exhibitors proposals and event exhibitor packages. Using the information you have already gathered, prepare proposals that show the potential exhibitor why this is an event they want to take part in. Contact them directly and negoatiate.