8 Tips for Making the Most out of Attending Trade Shows
Attending trade shows can be expensive, time-consuming, and frankly, a little overwhelming. By learning a few simple, tried and true tricks – the trade show experience can become more fun and profitable. We are going to briefly go over these 8 easy tips for making the most out of trade shows.
- Set some goals for the trade show before you attend.
Think ahead of time what would make attending this show a complete success. Would it be getting new inventory? If so, how much? (Try to put a dollar amount, or number beside each goal). Would it be getting X number of sales leads? Would it helpful to take note of marketing initiatives in your industry that are effective? Try to map out the cost of the show, and what you would need to accomplish to make that cost worth it. In a digital age filled with PPC ads, and online stores, we sometimes tend to treat trade shows as unquantifiable costs, but in reality, with a bit of planning – you can figure out exactly what the cost-benefit analysis is of attending a show. This will give you peace of mind, and a sense of renewed purpose while attending the show.
- Pick the best times to check out your favourite booths.
If you really want to check out a booth and you notice it is jam packed full of people, you will probably not get to talk to the right person, or get the same treatment compared to visiting the booth when there are less people. Make a list of the booths you know you want to attend, and then try to carve out time when it could be less busy to talk to your top priorities. Booths tend to be less busy during seminar times, and the second day of the convention. Just make sure you don’t leave it till the last day, as you are more likely to forget, and the conference momentum is winding down.
- Wear comfortable shoes.
You will be walking and standing all day. Make sure you have comfy footwear, and even consider having two different pairs, so you aren’t stuck cramming your feet into the same shape of the footwear two days in a row. You will have so much more gusto and enthusiasm for the day if you aren’t in pain.
- Make sure to get as many business cards as you give away.
If you are interested in something from an exhibitor it is always a good idea to leave your information or business card, but it is equally important to get theirs. This will increase your chance of a meaningful interaction or follow-through. The same applies for networking events. Always receive as much information as you can so that if it is important to you, you can ensure it doesn’t fall through the cracks. It isn’t a bad idea to take time in the evening and organize the information that you do get, and perhaps even send a quick email to people you really cared about. That way you don’t have to deal with it (along with everything else you’ve missed back at the office) at the end of the week.
- Pick up as much literature as you can (you won’t remember it all).
If it doesn’t interest you in the very least, then there is obviously no point to picking up the literature, but if you are even remotely interested, then always pick up the literature the booth does have because you will not remember every single detail of the day by the time you get back to your hotel. If you are really hardcore you can even jot a few notes on the literature at the booth so that you don’t forget what you talked about, or why you picked it up.
- Attend all of the networking events (even if they cost a little extra).
One of the most underrated benefits of trade shows is the networking that you do with people. This can happen in traditional areas such as the trade show floor, but it also can happen over drinks at the opening or closing night gala. You never want to be in 100% sales pitch mode when people are trying to have fun, but building relationships is key to closing deals.
- Make sure to follow up a week after the event.
If you don’t follow up with the people that you connected with, and the companies that you wanted to learn more about or sign on, then the trade show was a waste. It can seem like an annoying task to have to sift through the data after a long trip, but just do it. You can also break it into more manageable chunks and send a quick email in the evening after every day, this way you were quick to respond (thoughtful and efficient!) and the ball is now in someone else’s court and you can relax the rest of your trip.
- Use social media to your advantage.
Build in-person relationships and keep fostering them online. Use trade show hashtags and tweet during the event, take pictures. You are more likely to be picked up by the event organizers and get free publicity. Who doesn’t love that?
Don’t forget to check us out this year at Booth #173 at the 2018 WRLA Buying Show! We are announcing some new products at the show that will change the wood-finishing game in North America, giving away samples of Osmo, giving wood-finishing demos all-day and you can enter our giveaway to try Osmo wood finishes yourself! Check out the floor plan below to see where we are located:
Curious what Osmo is? Learn more about our natural wood finish based on rapidly-renewable vegetable oils and waxes here. We have end-user and industrial solutions, and are taking Canada, customers, retailers and Instagram by storm!