Turns out, sitting down and saying you want a booth that’s “cool” isn’t the best way to be a good client and get the result you want. This blog post covers what you should tell your booth company in order to get your ideas across, down on paper, and into real life. We’ll also go over how involved you should plan to be vs. when you should step back and leave the professionals to do their thing, general timelines to expect, and more.
If you’ve chosen a tried-and-true booth company like mackenzie EXHIBIT, then the professionals you’re working with are just that — professionals. They don’t need you to take their feelings into account when giving input, they truly want to know what needs to be done to make you happy, and above all, they’re not mind readers. Go into all of your meetings with the exhibit design company with a clear understanding of what you want to achieve and what is necessary in order for you and your coworkers to consider the booth a success. During the ideation phase, your booth company might present you with some ideas that are outside of what you first had in mind — if you like them, great! If you don’t, then be blunt and speak your mind. The more transparent you are with the company, the better the end result will be.
Strike the words “kind of”, “maybe”, “sort of”, and “you know what I mean?” from your vocabulary before going into meetings with the booth design company. Even the best exhibit design companies can’t extract useful information from those phrases, and all you’ll end up with is confusion and potential delays. It’s ok to go into the meetings with an open mind and embrace the collaborative nature of booth design, but even while having a productive back-and-forth discussion you should try to be as clear as possible with the input you’re giving. If the ideation phase of your booth design is producing results that aren’t exactly what you wanted, stop and take a moment to look back and see if there were ways you could have been more precise and then adjust moving forward. Yes, the customer is always right . . . but they’re not always clear.
Don’t be a helicopter client. Hovering over your exhibit design company by emailing them every day, calling them incessantly, and requesting in-person meetings multiple times per week isn’t going to speed the process along (actually, it’ll do the opposite). They know that this booth is your baby, and these people are literally trained professionals. They have your best interest at heart; creating your dream booth is a win for them as much as it’s a win for you, because your booth serves as an advertisement of their abilities to potential clients. Be a good client and stick with your once-per-week check ins, but otherwise leave the pros to do what they’re good at. If they’re a little slow on the response, take that as a sign that they’re busy working hard on creating the best booth possible.
Mo Money, Mo Billing Schedules
One of the best ways to make sure your booth stays on track and be a good client is to stay on top of your bills. Some of the larger exhibit design companies might be able to float you for a 30-day billing period if your company has a unique payment schedule, but for the most part, pay up when it’s due. In general, a 50% deposit will be required once your booth budget is agreed upon by both you and the exhibit design company and your contract is signed. The remaining 50% will be due within 30 days after the trade show has wrapped up. Keep this in mind when coming up with your budget, make sure to give your Accounting department a big ol’ heads up, and everything will go swimmingly. This schedule can vary from company to company but is a good guide to keep in mind when figuring out when certain things will hit your budget.
Timing is Everything
You only need a few months to throw together a kickass booth, right? Well, maybe if you have a time machine to rewind by a few more months. No time machine? Then you’d better start at least six months prior to when the trade show is happening. Larger booths with more intricate designs should be given eight months up to a year of prep time in order to make sure designs can be finalized, materials can be sourced, iterations can be reviewed, and all details can be put to bed. This is especially true if this is your first time working with the exhibit design company. If you’ve worked with a company before and plan to reuse pretty much the same booth design, you might be able to shave your timeline down to three or four months to make sure everything is in order, but we still suggest at least opening the dialogue six months in advance.
How to Be a Good Client
Speak your mind. Know what you want. Let the pros do their thing. Keep your finances in order. Be on time. Follow these five things, and you’ll be well on your way to being the dream client that every exhibit design company hopes to have.
Did this just make you realize that your trade show is five months away and you don’t have a booth? Panic a little, breathe into a paper bag, then give us a call at 801-621-7500 or email us here.