Tips your business can follow while being an exhibitor or sponsor at car show.
Preparation is key here. I like to use a Google Doc and have a checklist of items and somebody assigned to each task.
Essentials to Pack
- Business cards
- Nice branded tent
- Anchors for tent
- Folding chairs
- Folding table
- Tools/Zip ties
- Branded tablecloth is a nice touch
- Product to display
- Beers for after the show
Having the appropriate car is key and to make sure it matches the demographic. Recently at Wuste European Car Festival in Las Vegas, there was a local VW dealer displaying there. At this show, all the cars were custom cars on lowered suspension, air ride, custom wheels, etc. The VW dealership had a nicely wrapped car on display however, it was on still on stock suspension and wheels! Seriously total fail. Some lowering springs and custom wheels would have made the car fit in much better.
- Have your cars properly detailed beforehand- dirty cars don’t fly at a car show
- Bring an assortment of microfiber towels- both new and rags
- ONR or waterless wash– great for last minute touch ups
- Glass cleaner- you will get fingerprints from prying eyes.
Nothing is worse than having a deadbeat staff sitting under a tent talking to nobody. It’s a waste of time and money, yet it’s something I see quite often.
- Mr./Mrs. Personality- This person can help draw people in w/o being a pushy salesman at the same time. You need somebody that can strike up a conversation with strangers naturally.
- The Organizer- It helps to have one person who is good at coordinating. An office manager is great at making sure making sure an event comes together smoothly.
- The Techie- It’s inevitable that you will have customers that want to know the ins/outs of your product, so it’s important to have someone on hand to answer the technical questions.
- Founders/Owners-It may seem petty, however, it adds a real brand connection when the customers meet the owners.
- Warehouse or hourly employees- If the show is local, it’s great to have these people come, as it makes them feel part of something and builds comradery. Often times these people feel left out since they are in the back of the house. While they might not be active in talking to customers, the added presence to the booth is beneficial.
I like to use the saying “When in Rome…” There’s nothing worse than a group of corporate stiffs at a car show wearing matching polos and Khakis. You want to be able to relate to your customers, so dress like them. Company branded T-shirts, hats, and even a name tag is a must so you stand out.
Team Up With Local Influencers
It adds validation to your brand when you team up with local influencers and/or brand ambassadors. I like to have cars owned by local enthusiasts or customers at the booth, as it brings in their friends as well. It also makes the customer feel appreciated.
Some games or challenges can help get the conversation going and add some excitement. It can be as easy as bringing a corn hole set, to renting a prize spin wheel.
Swag and Product To Bring
Free stuff to give away is essential. I like to have different levels of product to give out. It’s good to have something for everybody that passes such as stickers, keychains, lanyards, etc. For larger items such as t-shirts or hats, these are reserved for people that potential customers, current customers, and those who spend time talking to you at the booth.
While it might be awesome to walk away with a slew of email address or cash in hand, that’s not the point. The phone will not miraculously start ringing on Monday morning after a show. The goal of going to an event is simply one tactic in an effective marketing mix. The point to is to converse with consumers, show off your products, and to build your brand. Events are part of a long-term strategy, that when executed properly, can have positive effects on the bottom line.