An excellent online trade show display provider has one distinct characteristic: a philosophy of high quality, personalized service. I literally hate feeling like just another sale, or a number. When I sense that my business is not highly important to an exhibit provider, I leave the website or hang up the phone! My trade show booth display is a significant investment of both time and money, so I want to be careful to get the very best deal I can, which means so much more than a reasonable price. A competitive purchase or rental price is just the proverbial icing on the cake!
When it is time for you to go shopping for an online trade show display provider, I hope that these suggestions might be useful to you.
Individualized service is always first in my book. Too darn many companies are just out for the almighty dollar these days and will say whatever it takes to make the sale quickly. Frankly, those people tick me off! Then too, there are plenty of companies that talk a great game, but when the chips are down, will they be there for me in the long run? Individualized service means:
- Caring – I can tell within minutes – as you probably can too – if the person I’m speaking with actually cares about my experience with their company, is concerned for my business, and understands what my purpose/intent is with my trade show display.
- Receptiveness – I appreciate it when a company representative is listening carefully to what I say, acknowledges my concerns, and then addresses my needs thoughtfully. When I am interrupted, or given a piece of a sales pitch while I’m talking, this is an immediate turn-off.
- Professionalism – Sure, professionalism means that they know what they’re talking about, but it means more than knowledge…it means an all-around attitude that demonstrates that service is just as important as products. In today’s online world I have lots of choices; a professional knows this and must earn my business, no matter how much I spend. The pro looks for a mutually beneficial, long-term relationship. It’s a reciprocal investment.
Sensible advice is the second thing I look for in a trade show exhibit provider. When I’m dealing with an online display provider, I continually ask myself: is the representative always giving me a sales pitch, or do they sound more like a sincere advisor? And, have they genuinely taken the time to assess my needs and wants? In short, does he or she sound as if they will cover my requirements without going overboard, or neglecting something?
- Not quick-sale focused – Perhaps today I am shopping for a modest display, but next time I might seek to upgrade to a larger display. I want to know that an exhibit provider is thinking beyond today and advising me sensibly about where I am now and where I eventually want to be.
- Sensible proposal – From there, I need to hear a sensible proposal that meets my expressed essentials, even if it means they will make a smaller sale this time. Who knows, if they are a trade show expert that has practiced professional service with me, they might convince me that I need more than I’m originally seeking in order to reach my objectives. Do they truly know what makes sense for me?
- Graphics design – Because I have built a comprehensive trade show/event plan and have a clearly defined intent or message to convey with my display, I also have a visual idea of my booth graphics. First, I will not be impressed if they outsource graphics design to another vendor. No, an excellent trade show exhibit provider has an in-house graphics team. I would understand, however, if they use a separate printing company for actual graphics production. But I want sensible feedback (and recommendations) about my graphics so that I’m assured that my chosen images, colors, and text are going to have the correct impact, and reach my audience within seconds. I expect nothing short of exemplary, expert assistance with my graphics.
Broad product selection is the third item I seek in the right exhibit provider. I need to see more than one or two options, and I want to see information on the materials and construction of each display, as well as warrantee info. Further, I expect to see and hear about the accessories that I can – and should – have within my exhibit. I expect to see pictures, drawings, design options, and perhaps videos of the products that they promote on their website.
Competitive pricing is number four on my list of things I expect from a trade show display provider. Pricing is not the first thing on my list because I know that I will get what I pay for in a competent exhibit. I do, however, expect that both purchase and rental cost will be in line with other display providers, according to the research I’ve done. I also want to know exactly what is included in the price, and will look for – and ask for – discounts and other inclusions. Here again, I expect receptiveness, and an eye for earning a lifetime client in my business.
Post-sale assistance and on-going general support is the fifth item on my list of expectations. I need a provider who will stand behind their products and claims, as well as provide long-term support. I’m impressed when a trade show exhibit provider goes into detail about shipping, deadlines, drayage, and other logistics. I’m even more impressed when I can pick up the phone and get an answer to my question, even if it has been weeks or months since my last purchase. And I am truly ‘wowed’ when my display provider reaches out to me unexpectedly, just to follow up or see how things are going! Now that’s super cool.
So, the above five items that I expect are a lot, but are most reasonable in my opinion. Excellent service, advice, selection, pricing, and support are what I definitely demand in an online trade show exhibit supplier. In the end, I expect a mutually beneficial venture from both parties. As I said: it’s a reciprocal investment.