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What do you expect from a show stand?

This is a discussion on What do you expect from a show stand? within the Hunting Conventions, Shows & Events forums, part of the GENERAL category; Hi Guys, I`ve just had a look back through Jeromes photo`s from the SCI show and found them truly stunning. ...

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    Default What do you expect from a show stand?

    Hi Guys,

    I`ve just had a look back through Jeromes photo`s from the SCI show and found them truly stunning. My question is what do you expect to see on the average outfitter/agent stand at one of these top shows? I would particularly like to know what would draw you to actually talk to the reps about their offerings?

    The stands we see here for our UK hunting are often very basic with just a few representative trophies and a price list. I want to be more imaginative and would appreciate any opinions.

    All the best,
    Charly
    [COLOR=#9b6019]Shavesgreen[B]

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    Charly,

    Over the years the busiest booths I have seen include a couple of pretty blondes in it! One year at SCI, the girls from the Rack Calendar were attracting so many people that they were blocking the aisles...

    I think standing apart from the rest of the booths is key to getting noticed, and in my opinion this can be achieved by using a dominant bold color throughout your booth, including your main display, table coverings... a bold color such as a rich red or blue, a color that stands out from the usual camo or hunting colors that you find at a show. You might find it to be a bit too much at first but once you have added all of the other elements of your booth you will quickly see it more tamed...

    Another important aspect is name recognition, make sure that your logo/company name is prominent, well placed and readable from quite a distance. Also as most logo/company name do not tell the entire story, for me it is important to include a tag line defining what you do/specialize in so that visitors of the show know exactly what you do or what you are about without having to ask.

    Your back display should have big (trophy) pictures on it to capture the attention of your potential clients, don't short yourself there, for me better 4 big impressive pictures than 8 or 16 smaller ones that no one can see... These pictures should also tell the story, by that I mean if you have a Bongo picture it immediately tell the visitor what you offer or specialize in these type of hunts...

    The back display should also be used to display a great offer to drive potential clients to talk to you. I would choose only one SPECIAL to display, again, big and easy to read. Other offers can be on a flier displayed on your table.

    In your case, the back display should also list the names of the countries where you are selling hunts to.

    For me taxidermy mounts are not imperative, but if you choose to have one, keep it at one. Better have one that draws your attention to it than 3 that get lost in the environment or fill in the entire booth... Also a rare, unique or record trophy mount can draw lots of attention, sometimes exhibitors use one huge mount as their main focus point to attract people's attention. One big statement can make the difference.

    Obviously having a table and chairs to do business at and a place to sit is beneficial as shows are tiring. The busier your booth is with people the more others will be interested, so invite friends and past clients to come and hang out... there is nothing worse than having an empty booth. People attract people.

    TV's for me are more distracting than anything, and I do not care for them... but some people enjoy that.

    I think another nice touch is to have a cooler with some water to offer someone you are talking to, it may be the difference between them sticking around a little bit longer and having the opportunity to talk to them a little bit longer.

    Hope this help. I think that it would be great for others to offer what they think is appealing or "works" whether they are outfitters experienced in the show circuit or hunters who visited shows.

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    Great, thanks Jerome,

    Some really good points there about less being more and putting quality first.
    I would be interested to get others views on this.

    Charly
    Last edited by Shavesgreen; 07-30-2010 at 01:51 AM. Reason: spelling
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    Hi

    The tips of Jerome are excellent. My philosophy is also less is more. In that way you stand out from the often crowded (with trophies) booths others have. But maybe the masses like to be bamboozeled with all the stuff in a booth, maybe not. On the other hand you want real clients not the masses. Bold colours may work, but I will be hesitant to try it. These are just my 2 cents.

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    Hi Charly
    Two things that look for when I am walking the isles of a show. If I make eye contact, with someone in a booth, a smile or the nod of a head or a hello goes a long way to get me to stop. I have seen it before were they will be reading a book or a paper look up and then right back to what they are doing. if there is someone in line and I am waiting to talk to the outfitter, if a couple of minutes go buy with no acknowledgement from the outfitter I leave . the person he is talking to is important but this person may not know that there is a line up behind them. I have seen it in the past that as soon as you are acknowledged the person in front finishes his business and leaves.

    terry

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    Really good points terry, I could not agree with you more!

    Jerome Philippe, Founder of AfricaHunting.com
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    Thanks guys,

    I`m the same as you Terry, if I don`t get any friendly vibes from a stall holder or exibitor then I keep moving along!!
    [COLOR=#9b6019]Shavesgreen[B]

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    Charly:

    Jerome, Werner and Terry have clearly given you some excellent advice and opinions. I have not attended many outdoor/hunting shows, but I've been to dozens of business trade shows for meat packing and food equipment. I'm sure that the dynamics are similar. Here's some feedback from a potential customer:

    1. Stalls / booths that are cluttered and confusing get bypassed. Usually there is too little time to see everything at a show, so I only stop at the ones that clearly offer something I may want. If there is time left over, I might go back to the offerings skipped the first time through.

    2. Conversely, if a display clearly communicates "this is what we have to offer", I'll stop and get information if it has the potential to provide value.

    3. If booth or stall is very busy with potential clients, I'll grab information if brochures or business cards are readily available at the aisle. It is REALLY HELPFUL if the booth number is printed on the information. At large shows, it's hard to remember (3 hours later) where you saw something. If I have the booth number, I usually go back so I can talk to the representative.

    4. If I stop at a booth, I really appreciate it if someone asks (right away) if they can help me. If everyone manning the booth is busy with customers, I don't mind. They are doing their best to serve as many people as they can. I know I'll get the same kind of service, I just have to wait for my turn. Again, I'll go back after grabbing info.

    5. If the people manning the booth are just busy talking to each other, then I ask myself: "If they don't care about their own business enough to talk to a customer, why would they care about my business?" I generally will not go back unless I really need something they have to offer.

    6. I HATE IT when someone someone at a stall (that I have never met) comes after me aggressively or (worse) acts like we've been friends for 20 years. That's phoney. I immediately assume that their goods or services are just as phoney.

    7. If I need to spend more than 15 minutes at a stall or need to write things down, I appreciate it if there is a chair and a bit of table space for writing.

    8. Sometimes I ask company representatives to contact me with more information after the show is over. Without fail, the ones that end up providing great customer service call within 1-2 business days. On the other hand, the ones that call a month later ususally have lousy customer service.

    My $0.02. I hope it helps.

    - browningbbr

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    Thanks to you all,

    browningbbr, some great points on customer service.

    It sounds as though the general view is that a stand with a design based on quality over quantity and a clear representation of the services offered coupled with fast/friendly and efficient customer service should be a winning formula?

    Charly
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    When at last year's DSC convention I was planning a plains game hunt. Cost was a major factor to me considering I am only 26. I know many older people who look back and wish they had done more at a younger age because they feel like now they can not or the opportunity is no longer there.

    I went through the show picking up fliers, and brochures to compare day rates and what's included and trophy fees. I also grabbed some DG info for later possible trips

    Most outfitters are great, so I don't want to hear some speech about how much better any one is over another. I use references for that. If the difference in Kudu from one place to another is $1800 to $900 other things being equal, I was planning to choose the better deal. The hunt I choose had no taxidermy at their booth. They had a website, photo album of previous hunts, not the cheapest but on the lower side of comparable prices, and the friendliest personality to me.

    Some people are A-type, others are B-type. Being able to talk to both and not seem pushy to the B or overly carefree to the A is important.

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    Booth Location is a big factor...
    I usually spend 6 to 8 hours at shows and I will only visit with maybe 4 outfitters’.

    Thing that I look for if I am going to stop or walk by:
    1. Appearance.
    If it is junky or messy I walk on by.
    2. Display - mount or mounts & pictures.
    What do they show or say.
    3. Location where hunts are offered.
    A sign in sheet with name and or e mail is great for follow up. This gives you a chance to send greeter follow-up messages and letting the potential client what you have available.
    4. When I walk up am I acknowledge.
    A said earlier say hi or hello, start a dialog.
    5. The hard sell, where the client has to make a decision now or you will lose a great deal, results in my walking off. I do not care how good the deal is.
    6. A list of references is very good item to have available.
    I like to do my research as part of my pre hunt activities and before I will put my name on a contract.
    7. TV’s are ok, what I like to see are prior hunting pictures of clients with harvested game and sub titles with the slides laying out what trophies are available.

    My 2 Cents

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    Most of the conventions I attend are in Europe and European outfitters always make me feel like they are a little bit stand-offish with people walking up to the booth. Truth be told the Brits seem to be the worst about this.

    I would offer you these suggestions:
    1. Be prepared to do a sales pitch in as many languages as humanly possible.
    2. Have your administrative tasks in order. Receive funds, confirm reservations, available dates etc. If I have a kitchen pass from the wife to book a hunt at the show, that doesn't always apply to next week. I need to do business then and there.
    3. Be conservative in your sales pitch. Everyone at the show has the biggest trophies, best lodge, and coldest beer to offer. I would prefer some candid images of hunters actually in the lodge, or on the hunt to publicity shots.
    4. References, the slickest thing I've ever seen was a video of hunters giving their impression of the hunt and services. We were so impressed by the effectiveness of this technique my state foresters have incorporated it into our PR plan.
    5. Offer a discount at the show, something tangible and real. If I am going to lock in a hunt today, you have to have the best offer on the table.
    6. Last but not least I will echo Jerome’s suggestion, smoking hot sales reps never hurt!
    Macs Burke
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    One last thing reference item number 2 above. Credit cards are far easier to carry around a show than a big wad of currency, especially when there are several currencies that could be used. Have a credit card machine on hand for deposits and payments.
    Macs Burke
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    All of this is very interesting...

    As the majority of the African operators will not have the set up to process credit card payments, deposits and payments are for the most part done by check and some in cash.

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    Jerome,
    We haven't invested in a credit card system either. I always make arrangements with either the show venue or another vendor to process accounts using their system. It is very convenient for clients and the over head is only the 3-4 percent over the vendor charge.
    Macs Burke
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    As someone who doesn't pack a big wallet, I like to see a set up with a couple of representative animals (don't bring your largest samples), easy access to brochures and pricing, plus a welcoming face. Simple conversation and a subtle sell are preferred over the "in your face" approach some people use. Remember, we're not looking to buy a car.....

    Ask me questions about what I am looking for in an African hunt. What type of hunting have I done in the past? Ask what animals or length of trip I am interested in? Talk about firearms or bow hunting. In short, I don't want an outfitter or a consultant to just tell me he is the best, has the best show special price, can offer me the biggest trophy, etc. I just want to have a conversation like I would have with any other hunter or person. It is that conversation that can lead to a genuine interest from both parties and allows me to feel more comfortable talking with the outfitter or a consultant/salesman.

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    Thank you all for your inputs. This really helps outfitters on improving skills in selling hunts at these shows. Some really good information.
    Hartzview Hunting Safaris - South Africa
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    Just to echo Jacques comments, thanks for the input.

    Macs - good points there especially about the cc payment systems but are the Brits really all that badly viewed? I`m not put out by your comment just interested in why we come across as "stuffy".
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    Shavegreen:
    I think it is merely perception. I live and work in Southern Bavaria, Germany. We pride ourselves on hospitality and i don't think a Bavarian hunter has ever met a stranger. The brits at our trade shows are much more commercial. I have always had the opinion that they needed to engage you a little more on a personal level, I guess they seem more buisness oriented. Obviously its not a bad thing, I've booked with various Brit outfitters several times with no complaints.
    Macs Burke
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    Default Pictures of Booths from the Safari Club Convention

    Pictures of Booths from the Safari Club Convention

    I thought that it would be appropriate to post in this thread pictures of booths from the Safari Club Convention... Looking for ideas or concepts to create or improve on an existing booth, you may just find the answers here... Nothing better then visualizing elements on an existing booth!


















































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