As our brains develop there are certain things we hear whereupon we switch to auto pilot. Our responses include, “just looking”, “No thanks”, the questions are, “Hi, can I show you something” and “Hi, how are you”. Most of us who attend expo’s and conferences will browse. If there are specific companies we go to see we have no problem approaching them to discuss a specific topic or see a certain product however, when browsing, just like in a gift or clothing store we tend to keep our distance. We want to be approach but if we’re not we’ll keep on walking. There are exceptions to the “keep on walking” rule but it takes a great stand or a personal relationship. Earlier this year I attended ‘Convene Auckland’ as a buyer putting aside a whole day. By lunch time I was over hearing the phrase “Hi, how are you” and that was if they even made an effort to get my attention. I more recently worked on a stand at BIZZONE in Auckland and had a number of comments from visitors on how refreshing it was for someone to engage them. Event organisers can only do so much to advise their exhibitors on what to do and, what not to do. They have much to complete themselves without working one on one with exhibitors. So where can exhibitors get help? Expo’s survive because ‘people are interested in buying’, this is what most organisers will tell their exhibitors along with a bit of advice to help them to sell but, does the advice really work? An interesting case was at BIZZONE. I had meet with 2 directors of a business prior to the show and given them some advice. They decided not to use my services and so they didn’t pass the information onto their 2 franchisees who were working on the stand. On the last day of the show I was approached by one of the Directors who said, “(paraphrasing)I remember what you told us about preparing staff for the show and how your best sales person can be your worst seller when taken out of their usual surroundings. I have been watching and I see it now. Our slow steady quiet seller is doing really well and our top seller is standing at the back of the stand and not getting many leads at all.” Exhibiting is more than just being present at a display stand during a show and most people find it difficult to admit there might be a better way or to ask for help. If you do decide you want help where do you go? Stand design companies will make you look good but what about, goal setting, promoting, what your signage should say, training and preparation, post-show response and, the most important, getting results. Just like in retail, when at the end of the day, they cash up the till, what do you want from an exhibition and how are you going to get it?