How we participated in the largest exhibition for just 36,500 rubles

    I will begin my story by answering the question: Why? Everything is simple. We have independently published a series of books for children, “Simple Science,” and we also make sets of experiments for them. And somehow it turned out that it was not possible to publish books through the publishing house and we raised money through crowdfunding. An attempt to sell books in bookstores was also unsuccessful and we sell them through our online store .

    But publishing books and selling them directly without intermediaries is not a simple matter. Sooner or later, we would still have to seriously address the question of “how to learn how to work with intermediaries?”. And the second question: "where to get them?" And somehow one winter sunny morning, sitting over a cup of tea and typing another text, I saw an advertisement for the exhibition “World of Childhood 2015”. “Why not!” I decided. That's how we became participants in this exhibition. Next, I will try to describe in more detail and point by point.

    1. Start

    To find out the cost of participation, it was enough to send a request to the mail indicated on the exhibition website . The manager contacted us and sent us the terms of participation and prices. At that time, I can say that I had no idea what to pay special attention to and what the whole process of “participation” would look like.

    In the submitted presentation, including, there was a plan of the exhibition with prices. Rectangles are drawn on the plan, from which it follows that there are several pavilions and in them stands of various sizes. Prices varied quite strongly and were almost directly tied to the occupied area. But just taking and saying “we need 10 meters in this pavilion” will not work. Some pavilions simply do not have small areas, and some do not have particularly large ones. The price per meter was about 10,000 rubles. plus participation fee and VAT. As a result, we chose between 4 and 8 meter stands. That is between 60,000 and 120,000 rubles.

    For some reason I didn’t choose an 8-meter stand. Looking ahead, I understand that this was the wrong decision for our participation. But at the last moment I got out and offered half the stand to my friend, who also produces sets for children. But more on that later.

    So, the choice is made. It was followed by a contract and an invoice. We must pay tribute to the organizers of the exhibition, the invoice amount is divided into 4 almost equal parts and it is proposed to pay according to the specified schedule. Of course, by doing so they increase the conversion of those who I was, to those who I became. That is, from those who wish to participate. They are great!

    The contract was signed. Down payment made. There is essentially no way back. The next time I remembered the exhibition, it was a letter from the organizers that it was time to pay the second installment. And he was paid. Then he forgot again until the third installment and the same with the fourth. And on the third installment, a good idea begins to dawdle me, and can this stand be shared with someone? And as soon as I thought about it, as I get acquainted with Sergey, he is a manufacturer of creative kits. I tell him, “but would you like, Sergey, to share the roof over your head at the next children's exhibition? “I want,” he answered. They decided on that.

    A month before the start of the exhibition, the organizers send a letter and begin almost every 2-3 days to send a newsletter for the newsletter. There is a proposal to build a stand (this, by the way, is a paid service) and letters asking to fill out some forms and so on and so forth. I refused all paid services. Filled out questionnaires, the data from which were supposed to be in the exhibition catalog.

    2. Preparation

    Periodically, I thought about the appearance of our future stand and about some kind of advertising material. Most importantly, I decided to use what we have and not spend money on anything other than business cards and flyers. During the period of our “creativity”, the editorial office managed to accumulate various props, among which were tables with chairs, a TV on a stand, and a farm that we planned to use on the set and much more. For the evening I put together a stand from them, which in the end turned out to be not so bad, considering that it was not spent on purpose, absolutely, not a penny.

    Since we planned to work together with Masha (this is my colleague) at our half of the stand, I made mock-ups of business cards for both and printed 200 of them each. In addition, he ordered the printing of 300 pieces of flyers. Fortunately, we already had a flyer layout. All the pleasure fell in 3500 rubles.

    3. Arrival

    A week before the start of the exhibition, a letter arrives from the organizers detailing the rules for the import and export of equipment, how to order passes for cars, what is possible and what is not. We followed all their instructions and we must say neither during the check-in, nor during the check-out there was not a single problem. This, frankly, surprised me. Personally, I was preparing for various shoals, stern guards trying to earn a hundred, a closed barrier with the inscription "entry through other gates" and so on. There was none of this.

    The check-in time was from 15:00 to 20:00 the day before the start of the exhibition. But they also had paid offers, according to which you can call in in the morning and leave the car throughout the exhibition right on the territory. As you understand, I did not take advantage of this offer.

    All that is needed for the stand fit into my car. At the appointed hour, I drove into the territory, parked at the nearest exit from our stand, unloaded and drove the car out of the gate. According to the rules, an hour is given for unloading. With parking outside the territory of the Expocenter, things are not very good. There is a paid city parking, but all is busy. In the yards you can park, but you have to flop on foot back.

    It took about 3 hours to assemble the stand. He did everything alone, so for so long. They told me that they could steal something from the goods (experienced participants), so I put the books and sets directly at the exhibition itself. At the end of each day, he collected everything in boxes and in the morning he got it out again. Yes, paranoia. I admit it.

    Here is a stand without a product:

    4. Exhibition

    Participants are allowed to come to the booth by 8:00 on the day the exhibition starts, and the exhibition itself starts at 10:00. But since everything was ready with us, we arrived right at 10 o’clock. From morning until 12:00 we wandered around the pavilion, exceptionally the “participants” like me. But after that, the “guests” began to catch up.

    And this is our stand as a result:

    “Experienced” explained to me how to work at such exhibitions: you need to take contacts and business cards from everyone who can. So I started doing it. I got a notebook and if they gave me a business card, attached it with a stapler and signed a short comment from a conversation with its owner. And if they didn’t have business cards, he asked to record contacts with his own hand. A lot of people were trying to get down immediately as soon as they received my business card and flyer from me, but I found a reason for them to leave contacts about me “I will send you wholesale prices and discounts”. After that, 95% decided to do away with anonymity and gave out all appearances.

    This, in essence, is the reason for participating in the exhibition: to meet with the supplier, buyer, or some other counterparty you are interested in, exchange contacts and quickly leave some hooks for which you pull by phone or mail immediately after the exhibition. I got 92 contacts. I have no idea whether this is a lot or a little, but about 150 of my business cards took. Preliminary calculations give a figure of 386 rubles for a business card issued or 630 rubles for a business card received. Looking at the numbers in the future I will work at exhibitions more efficiently. And I advise you the same.

    But perhaps I would have gathered more contacts at past exhibitions, World of Childhood 2014 or 2013. The guards, again, claim that every year the number of visitors to the exhibition drops at least twice. I can’t verify this data, for which I bought it and sold it.

    But I must admit that a budget place also involves the smallest possible number of visitors. Those who were located closer to the main entrance, which is near the exit from the metro, crowded a lot more people. It would be interesting to look at their numbers.

    As for us:
    • on the first day, 28 contacts were collected;
    • in the second 40;
    • on the third 15;
    • and 9 on the fourth day.

    The second day seemed to me the most efficient, it had more targeted contacts. But periodically all sorts of unusual ones appeared. For example, representatives of a large manufacturer from Hong Kong came up to us and talked, like us, in broken English. After 10 minutes of conversation, it turned out that they have our first book. It’s not enough to say that I was surprised. I was very surprised! It turns out that the book was sent to them by one of their Russian partners with a recommendation to pay attention to us. And it turns out that they came to our pavilion exclusively in search of us. Maybe they helped us find a guide to the exhibition, whose free form I filled out at the very beginning. At least I decided to think so. After the conversation, they did not approach the other stands, turned and left. The next day, a man came from them and handed us souvenirs.

    Another inventor of different puzzles came up to me. We met, turned out to be an uncle with a great sense of humor and very talkative. I think something else will develop with him. He presented two puzzles that broke my head that very evening. I never figured out one. The puzzles are really very cool, so here's an ad for you:

    In addition to the table, chairs, shelves and, in fact, the books themselves with the sets, I had one more trump card in my pocket. Suitcase! Not just a suitcase, but such a luminous suitcase, with music, all kinds of flasks, twirls and skewers. We did it for scientific shows for children, but it seemed to me that he would do a good service here too. And I was not mistaken!

    For half a day we worked without a suitcase and I managed to notice how visitors behave, what they react to and what they generally ask. And after lunch, a suitcase appears. I put it on the rack. I open it. Turn on and ... away we go! The number of people interested in our stand has increased by an order of magnitude. I'm not talking about the neighbors in the exhibition. Someone passed by, then stopped and watched. Less timid came up and asked "what is this?" To the fifth such question, I came up with a quick and clear answer: “you need a suitcase so that you come up, ask“ what is this? ”, And I told you, quietly, about our books and sets.” Almost everyone was amused by this explanation. And even if they were in a bad mood, it was clearly improving.

    I spread the presentation of the suitcase itself, from which it will be better understood what I'm talking about:

    It’s clear that a bunch of ordinary onlookers came up. But they created some excitement and those who approached the case were more disposed to the conversation.

    He also made one observation that was wonderful for me: they know us and they will recognize us! And not only “Simple Science”, but also me personally :) Someone came up and said that they and our child are watching our videos on YouTube. Someone recognized me by the program on the Carousel and asked me to take a picture. There were those who already have all of our books and were interested in “when there will be something new.”

    When I receive letters or messages on social networks from viewers and readers, it's fun and nice. But I never saw those people, and they are, for me, “virtual”, or something. And then there are living people. With real smiles, not emoticons. And in addition, these are those who have already seen a lot in the children's market, in view of their professional activities, and at the same time, warm words are addressed to us. Nicely :)

    5. Sales

    The exhibition "World of Childhood" was intended to establish contacts, conclude contracts, and introduce market participants to each other. As the saying goes, "look at others and show themselves." In the press releases of the exhibition and other promotional materials, no word was said about any retail trade in goods. But it turns out that there is a non-class rule such that clandestine trade opens in the last day or two of the exhibition. And those who are initiated into this secret ritual, pull themselves up to the exhibition, approach the stands and, as if by chance, ask “can you buy your goods?” So when I talked with some colleagues, they told me that it’s quite possible that sales “from under the floor” to repel participation in the exhibition itself.

    I liked the idea. And although we were not as experienced as others, we managed to trade for 25,000 rubles. It turns out that the exhibition was even cheaper than we originally thought. A trifle, but nice.

    Actually, here's what they sold:

    6. Solids

    It is obvious that it will not work to transfer the result from the exhibition purely into money and that the effect will be extended for several months. But with the naked eye you can see that it’s almost impossible to get about 100 targeted contacts, which you also met personally, for 58,000 rubles, in some other way. In addition to these contacts, there were also those who did not leave their contacts, but took ours. There were those who took nothing at all, but paid attention to us. Someone told someone in words. Or maybe someone glanced at the exhibition catalog inadvertently and asked the question "who are they?"

    “Simple science”, in comparison with many participants in the market of goods for children, is not just small, it is simply not even visible with the naked eye. We used to use the Internet as a means of expressing ourselves, but apparently the time has come to go on a long road and the exhibition is the first timid little step.

    Parting words

    If you have some kind of your own project, even if it’s still small and unprepossessing, but it already has something to offer the market, perhaps you should think about participating in a specialized exhibition. Think about it.

    Of course, when you visit the exhibition yourself as a guest and see these gigantic beautiful stands, small stands look lonely and unattractive against their background. But if you came to the exhibition on business, and not just take a look, then you will certainly get to them too. After all, it is on them, perhaps, that the future Apple, Lego or Google are located. So do not let prejudice prevent you from making breakthrough decisions for your business!

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