Have you ever arrived at a trade show or an exhibition only to feel like you are being bombarded with noise? Noise in the visual sense rather than audible. So much going on, so many brightly coloured stands, balloons, banners and flags all vying for your attention, and all trying to sell you their products or services. With only one day at the event you need to make sure you make the most of the opportunity so you can prove to your boss it was not just another ‘jolly’ out of the office. Here are a few tips to get the most out of a trade show:
Plan Before You Arrive
Know exactly the goals and objectives for your attendance at the event and write a plan of what you want to achieve. Check the event’s website, research who is exhibiting and make a note of all the organisations you want visit. Also note their locations so you can work out the best route around the exhibition. Trade shows and exhibitions often have a schedule of seminars and talks running throughout the day so see if there are any that you wish to attend and organise your plan around those.
Book to See the People of Importance
If there are some key organisations that you need to meet then why not book a meeting with them before you go to ensure you get to speak to the right people. Hovering on a stand waiting to see someone will be a waste of your time so booking in advance is the most efficient way to plan your day.
Early Bird Catches the Worm
Arrive at the event in good time. Crowds will build up as the day progresses and you will achieve so much more before things get busy. It usually helps to walk around the exhibition hall when you first arrive to get your bearings and it will allow you to locate the companies that you plan to visit. You will also get a chance to meet other organisations that you don’t know as events are about discovering new products, services, contacts and leads.
Appearance is Vital
Be smart and look the part. Remember you are representing the organisation you work for. If you dress appropriately to your industry, you will more likely be listened to and taken seriously. Bear in mind you will walk for miles so make sure you wear comfortable shoes! High heels or new shoes would be a big mistake!
Literature and Promo Items
There will be a lot of promotional literature and items on offer so take as much as you can. This will not only be good for finding out more about your industry and competitors but also will let you see how they market themselves. As with their exhibition display stands, they are all trying to get the attention of the prospective customer. Having a record of their marketing collateral and photos of their stand designs and layout will allow you to gain ideas and assess what might work for your organisation in the future should you want to take a stand at the exhibition.
Sit in on Free Seminars
These talks are often given either by industry experts, so an ideal educational opportunity or by a representative from one of the exhibitors, giving you a great insight into the products and services they offer. Both present excellent value as they are usually free of charge and are a great way of finding out more about a particular subject, product or service. There is usually opportunity to chat to the speaker after their presentation so you can learn even more from them. Of course if they are exhibiting then you can always pop to their stand for more information.
Talk, Talk and More Talk ‘til you Drop
Exhibitions and trade shows offer the perfect networking opportunity where industry experts and leaders gather. From making contacts to finding out about the latest industry trends, talking to your peers and competitors is the way to stay in touch with your industry and to make fruitful connections. Get business cards wherever you can and make sure you make notes during and after your meetings and conversations as by the time you get back to the office, it might be difficult to remember the details of your numerous conversations.
Follow up your Leads
There is only one way to follow up your leads and that is immediately! Don’t leave it more than a day or two before you make those calls. An incredible 75% of leads are not followed up after events which really renders them a complete waste of time if you don’t do it! Your time is money and if you have made the effort to go and spend hours networking then make sure you make those calls when you are back at your desk!