ILLUSTRATION: MARK FISHER
I want to make sure my next exhibit house is a good fit for my team and our needs. What are some questions to include in my exhibit request for proposals besides those regarding the usual hard deliverables?
In addition to queries that suss out the cold, hard facts about a company's ability to design and execute a new exhibit, I always make a point to include a few key – and perhaps offbeat – questions in most of HP Inc.'s RFPs to further ascertain whether a vendor is a good match for us. Here are three such questions and the reasons I ask them.
If your firm was a car, what kind of car would it be, and why? The way a firm answers this question often keys you in to its "sweet spot." For example, is the chosen car flamboyant, fast, built to last, energy efficient, multipurpose, powerful, etc.? If a firm is hesitant to tell you its strengths and weaknesses outright, the way it replies to this question will give you some insight into how it views itself.
How has your firm been able to implement Green initiatives? In this day and age, environmentally friendly initiatives should be an ingrained part of any company operating in the exhibiting and events industry. That's not to say that every product or service offered must be as Green as an organic vegetable garden. Rather, any supplier should be able to talk intelligently about the environmental impact of lightweight materials, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), sustainable resources, etc., and if it can't, then it may not be up to speed on other industry knowledge as well.
What staff members would you assign to my account? This question will tell you not only how much forethought the firm has put into securing your account, but also what priority level your business will have once you've signed on the dotted line – and the quality of service you can expect. For example, does the exhibit house plan to hire a contracted employee who very likely could jump ship for greener pastures a year down the road, or will you be working with a seasoned trade show veteran with a list of expertise and demonstrated skills?
— Glenda Brungardt, CTSM, trade show and event marketing program manager, HP Inc., Fort Collins, CO