Headed to any trade shows this year? I thought it might be fun to share some tips to have a sucsessful show.
1) First think about why you are going in the first place. Is it to research a first time business? Open a second location? Looking for ways to improve your existing store? Buy a specific piece of equipment?
2) Get a map. Every show has a booth layout either online or in print. Mark all the booths you really, really want to see.
3) Don’t forget education! Look at the listing of free (or paid) classes and plan out which ones you will visit. Classes overlap sometimes so make sure you plan well. By the way, most speakers will make their class materials available to you even if you don’t attend! Note who they are and send an email asking if you can get that information after the show.
4) Take a quick lap around the show floor and mark anything that looks super interesting down. Come back to those later. I often hear people mention that they “ran out of time” to see eveything they wanted. Don’t stop for too long on that first go around!
5) Challenge yourself. Stop at a booth or two that you have never visited before. See what they have to offer, take 30 seconds to hear the sales pitch. You might be surprised and find some information you never knew you needed.
6) Challenge yourself again. Attend one educational class you have never thougt of before. You might learn something!
7) Ask for recommendations. If you are at the show to pickup a piece of equipment or product, ask other exhibitors what they think about it. I’m not talking about competitors, I’m talking about other vendors you already know and trust. You ask the local guy where to eat in a new town right? This is our town. Sometimes we may have a good suggestion.
8) Don’t be afraid to ask for the company to email or mail you literature. Why stuff your backpack full of paperwork when we both know you are going to leave half of it at the hotel! Most of us are happy to give you a packet today to see in the hotel and to mail you a packet for your office.
9) If you don’t want a salesperson to follow up, just tell us! Please don’t give us a fake name or number from your badge. It just causes frustration and headaches. Trust me, if you are worried about being spammed or called a million times, you can just let us know.
10) Talk to other attendees – remember these are your peers!
Finally, stop by and say Hi! I’m always there to chat!