1.Clarify your objectives, for example, to collect leads, meet existing customers, make direct sales, or network with other businesses.
2.Choose an exhibition that will attract your target audience and take into account the exhibition's reputation, location, size and publicity plans.
3.Consider whether the timing suits your plans and existing workload.
4.Assess how cost-effective it will be: compare expected benefits with the costs of exhibiting, including staffing your stand.
5.Book early to ensure that you are included in the organisers' publicity material.
6.Book a space which will suit your proposed display; consider which locations in the venue offer the most cost-effective exposure.
7.Decide whether to use the organisers' shell scheme or design and use your own stand.
8.Start planning well in advance: organise marketing materials and samples, plan the layout of your stand and find out what facilities are available (eg storage and security, power points and refreshments).
9.Before the exhibition, promote your presence to your target audience (for example, with free tickets).
10.Decide in advance how you will respond to different visitors, for example, students, potential customers, VIPs and competitors looking for information.
11.Select personable, knowledgeable employees for the stand, and provide sales training if necessary; take enough people to allow for breaks.
12.During the exhibition, let visitors browse briefly before approaching them to identify who they are and what their interest is.
13.Arrange to follow up; as a minimum, record the name, job title, contact details and area of interest of each potential customer.
14.Consider using the organisers' list of attendees, as well as your own records, to targets after the exhibition.