Are you ready for the Trade Show???
Attending a trade show can be overwhelming for attendees. There are usually more booths to visit than time during the show so the way to be able to see everything you want or need to is by getting prepared ahead of time.
The show websites usually will have all of the information for you to look at ahead of time to get the most of your trade show experience. You can do your homework before the show so you can see what vendors you want to stop and see, what classes you may want to register for, and try to plan your time wisely of how much time you want to spend in each booth. You may be there for all 2 or 3 days of the show, or you may only be able to attend for a few hours on one day of the show. Either way, make sure you are ready to spend your time efficiently.
I met a woman this past month at the NBM Arlington and was thrown back by her approach at the show. Anna Pirtle from a company Gloverstamp was kind enough to share here preparation tactics with me. I saw her enter the show and immediately go to a booth in our aisle. She spent some time there and then when went 2 aisles over to another vendor. She was walking with a purpose. After about 20 minutes, Anna appeared in our booth with an iPad in hand. We spoke in detail on how Screen Printed Transfers would be beneficial to the success of our business. While I was writing up her order, I had to ask why she didn’t stop at our booth after she was done with a vendor 2 booths down from us. She then showed me her IPad. On it was the list of vendors in order that she wanted to speak with. She wanted to start with garment distributors and then move her way to the decorators. She had the floor plan that she had pulled off of the NBM website color coordinated.
The green booths were booths that she knew she had to stop by. The yellow booths were booths that if she had additional time, she would stop by. The red booths were “no need to stop by.” I found this very, very efficient. This was a 3-day show but Anna was only able to attend for one day. She did her homework before the show and certainly made the most of her time, the little that she had, while she was there.
Always do your homework before the show. Research potential vendors’ websites to see if what they have to offer you is going to be beneficial to you your business. Bring business cards to share with vendors, as well as other people you may meet walking the floor. Every person is a potential client until proven otherwise. Look up the floor plan and have it handy so you know immediately how to find a certain vendors booth. If you are at the show for multiple days, go through all of your literature in the evening. That way, you can write down any follow up questions you may have ready for the next day. Take advantage of the show specials and education opportunities that most shows offer.
Sure, attending trade shows can be stressful, but if you do your homework like Anna, you will be relaxed and organized.
Preparing in advance can ensure that you have a smooth, efficient and productive trade show. Even if there is more to do than time in the day, your trade show will be the best it can be and make it worth your time spent there. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.