Business: 6 Attention -grabbing ideas for exhibitors during trade fairs

first lagos /Konga Msme fair

The first Msme (Micro,  Medium and small scale enterprises) trade fair organised by Lagos state in conjunction with Konga (May 2- May 8) has come and gone , but the event was a huge success. During the six day event, there were hundreds of exhibitors, visitors, customers and government officials who were on hand to witness the event geared towards promoting the #MadeinNigeria, #MadeinLagos goods and services, encourage entrepreneurial spirit among Lagos citizens and bringing the business managers in contact with their marketing audience in one forum.

I was able to attend  four  out of six sessions  but they were enough to learn these  6 major entrepreneurial tips  that will help exhibitors at trade shows to be successful, drive more traffic to their booths , generate sales  and make more impact after the exhibition is over.

Purchase made in Lagos/Nigeria goods
Purchase made in Lagos/Nigeria goods
1. Re brand your marketing strategy. Have an online shop: The market is coming online, physical search and find of customers is no longer  enough, go and meet your target customers where they are spending more of their time, On the Internet. Online malls like Konga help you set up shop and you can start selling directly to your customers there. Before an exhibition, your online presence might have created a popularity for your product so customers flock to your booth , otherwise, after the exhibition, those who were not able to buy during the trade show can buy from your online shop. They have seen the goods, seen the creative individual behind them, they have more confidence in buying.

2. Attend trade fairs , exhibitions and smes conferences: It is at such events that one gets to meet ceos, creative individuals, business executives, suppliers, clients, manufacturers, government personnel, policy makers who ordinarily one is unlikely to come across. Also, by networking with others present, one tends to hear of other business opportunities or upcoming trade shows, obtain referrals,  learn new marketing tricks, gain new knowledge, attend almost free workshops .The opportunities at business meets are so endless. For instance, at the msme event, I made a couple more friends who am sure will patronize my services, give my business a boost by passing on information through word of mouth to others, like I did for some and also got invited to another upcoming exhibition in December organised by Naworg (Naccima women business group) . Naccima is Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture.

3. Join an Association: To promote your business, enjoy more benefits such as loans, tax reduction, access to government funds ,business updates  cooperative lands and housing and more,, it is imperative for an entrepreneur to join an association who have members of similar interests willing to grow and develop together. At the Msme fair, there were a host of business associations. Amen (Association of micro-entrepreneurs of Nigeria) , Nasme (Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises ), Bjdan (Beaded Jewellery Designers Association of Nigeria), Nassi (Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists ), Smedan (Small and medium scale enterprises development association of Nigeria) ,Association of Lagos shoe makers, Tie and Dye Association (Makers of Adire, Batik Fabrics  )

4. Be early  and consistent  : If you can , try  to be  first to register for an event, first to get a stand to position yourself well either at the entrance, near the podium or any other prime location  where potential customers,visitors are bound to see you.   Also be consistent, if you wont be available, get an employee or friend to stand in for you, or put up your goods with another exhibitor including business cards, price tags and other details necessary to help sell your product or service.
Several awards were given to various exhibitors who were consistent and available throughout the six day trade exhibition.

5. Let your stand stand out: Have a pleasant presentation by arranging your goods to attract potential customers to your stand, dont let the goods be cluttered together, set them out individually . Be wary of photographers who take pictures of your products to sell to competitors, brand your products, or at least verify the photographer if he or she is a journalist, blogger or has a good reason to take  the pictures. (Unfortunately, I saw a banner of an exhibitor that blatantly had my products as part of theirs on her banner, remember  to always water mark photos of your creations).
 Mix match the goods on different days so your stand doesn't look the same always during the exhibition, introduce colors, Use nice displays like a roll up banner,  projected screen or place cards that give details about the products,  have business cards in handy, know the necessary details of what you are selling. Be able to ,in a few short words convince the customer  why your service is better suited to meet their needs, dont lie or be deceitful, be polite, give room for negotiation, offer discounts for repeated customers. The more reason why people are attracted to trade fairs is because they feel they will get goods at discounted prices, so sell at moderate prices.

5. Dont just stand and look, be involved:  At trade fairs, be more than an exhibitor, visit other stalls, buy, window shop, learn new technology, ask questions, know more about what is happening in your industry, how recent government policies will either harm or be of benefit t your business, what are the solutions to the challenges you are currently facing in your business, who  is providing the solutions, where they can be found? Visit other stalls, see how other business executives are relating eith customers, what influences the customer decison to buy, packaging? human relation? price? usability of the product? or the name/brand?  Dont just rely on your oars or previous experience. Be open to learn new things and explore opportunities presented to you.

Trade exhibitions are more than buying and selling, it is a mine of information, dig it out.

See pictures form the Lagos/Konga Mses trade exhibition

Commissioner commerce and industry, Rotimi Ogunleye giving his closing speech

lagos msme 4
Lagos state officials
lagos msme 3
I also exhibited some beaded bags and ankara crafts

lagos msme 2
Array of beaded jewellery

Gov Ambode visit an exhibitor's stand
lagos msme 1
Bjdan members

Highlights of the event:
Day 1 : Opening ceremony . Speeches by Deputy Governor of Lagos state, Oluranti Adebule,  Konga ceo,Shola Adekoya  Smedan Dg, Dr Dikko Umaru Radda,  Commisoner for commerce and Industy in Lagos, Rotimi Ogunleye, Inauguaration of Lagos state committee on Msme headed by Mrs Nike Akande
Day 2-5: Workshops, sales, Viewings, Business presentations
Day 6: Closing ceremony. Done by Governor of Lagos state,Akinwumi Ambode .

Exhibitors included: Bjdan, Smedan, Typearls, Top royal creations, Labisi oils, Konga, Cywe ventures, Stev-Mike, Simply Handmade, Bedroom matters, Shoe makers association, Tie and Dye .

N.b: If you were at the fair, and have pictures, kindly send them to and they might be included in an update to this post.

- Christina


Bisi Eretan said…
The fair was an eye opener for me as it afforded me the opportunity to make meaningful partnership. As an oil producer, Labisi Oils, I was able to broaden my scope especially about coconut oil.
Bisi Eretan said…
The fair was an eye opener for me as it afforded me the opportunity to make meaningful partnership. As an oil producer, Labisi Oils, I was able to broaden my scope especially about coconut oil.