Do You Exhibit at Trade Shows?

So you want to exhibit at a Mind Body and Spirit Show?

Make no mistake: I believe money and happiness go hand in hand! I have come to the conclusion that to have a thick cloud of debt over your head is a seriously crap place to be. There is no apology for this statement, I have listened to and recorded many people problems, happiness’s, fears and the three principal issues are, love, money, and work. The last two have financial connotations!

I have been involved in the world of “spiritual” enlightenment for many years, and the very best platforms where I can promote myself is within the mind, body, and spirit shows circuit. If these shows are lost, all of us who stand at the events will lose our best chance of success.

This essay arises from lessons learned when exhibiting at events. Frankly, very few organizers fulfill their obligation to the exhibitor. The poor organizers are vultures with little concern for their unfortunate prey. And as the years go by, there has to be a day of reckoning, it is not here yet, although it will happen. The organizers think there is an unquenchable demand for their product. There are many thousands of people who have an interest in our work but do not think them to be fools, overpriced entrance fee’s and unhappy exhibitors will wear them down.

I do my homework, there is no problem finding the cost of the venue. And every event attended, I discover how much a site charge’s for room hire. I am not going reveal the prices. However, this knowledge is a good starting point to whether I feel the organizer is ‘being fair’ to the exhibitor.

The success of the event itself is often proof of the leg work and promotion organizer puts into the show. I am uncompromising in my observation. Leg work is the right word if the organizer is too far away from their home base, it is clearly more difficult for the promoter to promote the show. Careful observation of the actual performance of each show will prove this to be accurate. Like me or hate me (I don’t care either way) I have a proven track record of ability to make money, and it is from this standpoint I make the following observations.

If you are attending shows as an exhibitor, you need get close to cover overheads. The only way you will do this is for customers to visit your stall, promotion is essential.  I should comment the exhibitors have an obligation to promote their work and the show as well as organizers. Although there is a line to be drawn, you do not have to contribute to pension funds of organizers who do not correctly promote the shows you attend.

I put it to you that if you consistently lose money you should ask why. Is it how you operate your business? Or are you being materially bled by lazy organizers who just want your money? Do the organizers have business interests ‘on the floor’ of the event itself? Draw your own conclusions about those who do this. There is no problem with relations who pay for their stand. However, we may question the ethos or ethics of those who wish to take your stand money and take trade away from you!

Look carefully at the entrance fees, visitors to the shows are paying some high prices, and we can be certain that this does prevent, people, coming through the door (maybe 600 tickets at 4 pounds is better than 300 at 6?) think about this very carefully indeed.

Good promoters have people queuing to attend their shows, and these are the one’s you should be talking to and getting on their waiting lists. I will tell you why. Because they have the mailing lists. They spend wisely on advertising. They have the knowledge and understanding to put the show together and generate profit for themselves, which is returned to their business’s for long term success. However this will not continue for much longer, and I predict the shows will, in the long run, fail.

If they (the promoters) can see there is demand for more stalls and are brave enough to offer incentives to new and fresh traders, the shows will grow and attract more customers. Do I see this happening? Not for some years to come. If ever. Not until the shows are a card breadth from extinction will someone new appear to change the format. The exhibitor is the blood of any event, and the present regimes are draining the last drop from their bodies.

It is sensible to boycott the shows that do not work for you, do not think, ‘the next show will be the breakthrough’ it will not. Liz and I have already begun to do this, and we will continue to walk away from organisers who do not demonstrate effort and determination to see the show succeed.

An event (any event) is a trawler. The organizer is its skipper, the room the event is held in is the net, you are the bait for the fish who could be customers and future clients. It seems to me, there are too many pirate skippers navigating the boats into deep waters too far away from their home port.

I believe the great organizers should get tough to protect themselves, the future and their stall holders. The weak shows (there are far too many) are financially ruining many who exhibit at them. And this must change, remember, profitable exhibitor needs all of the other exhibitors in the room for them to trade, the unprofitable stalls are essential to the existence of any exhibition. Therefore all of us should work together to ensure everyone succeeds.

Less is more, do not doubt it. If you are losing money and you suspect it is because of the poor performance of the organizer, get out early because you will ultimately fail – believe me. OK, there will be some mediocre shows, however, if an organiser consistently fails, call it a day and get on the lists of the winners. Offering to promote the shows for free in your area is a great way to help yourself become recognized by the show organizer.

I make no reference, to specific organizers in this blog. If you are an organizer, I wish you every success if you do not like what is written so what? This essay written for my fellow exhibitors, these words are observations, not criticism. My interest is for my fellow stall holders, healers, readers, and traders to succeed and if the organiser’s do not look to the future. I’ll give it five years before the decline takes the shows from good to mediocre, or worse.


One comment

  1. Hi there. I have exhibited at many shows in the North West and Wales for many different organisers over the last 6 or 7 years and as a therapist have still found it hard to cover my stand costs, never mind make a profit. I am sure it isn’t always the fault of the organisers as most of them have been wonderful and really did care whether I was doing well or not. One or two have got greedy and their stand costs have become silly. I know the main ones that I have been to are trying to keep their costs down and I appreciate this but we have decided that we can’t afford to do any more shows for the foreseeable future. We hope to start again when my finances allow. Most of the time I told myself that it isn’t always how you do at a show but how many people contact you afterwards. This didn’t happen very often either so very reluctantly I have decided to give them up. It is sad because I really enjoy doing shows and have made some wonderful friends over the years. I wish you and everyone else who still exhibits all the very best of luck and I hope you continue to do well at them all. I must say that I haven’t ever contacted the venue to see how much it costs to hire. I will do this before ever contemplating starting again. Thank you for such good common sense advice.

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