Trade shows are a fierce competition to get one person’s attention: yours! Vendors and suppliers like Tektured will put a lot of hard work into making their booths, products, and displays successful. But success at a trade show is not only for the suppliers. Here’s Tektured’s tips on how attendees can have the most efficient, successful trade show experience!
Before the Show
Generally, most attendees know why they’re attending a convention or trade show. But you can take this one step further. Do some research on who will be there as soon as you get a vendor list. You’ll be able to determine who has the most relevant products or services, which can help you be most efficient while attending. Don’t forget to browse, though; some vendors may surprise you!
Make a Schedule
Often with the vendor list comes a schedule for the trade show. Find the lectures or demonstrations you are most interested in and plot out the most efficient way to attend each. If there is overlap, split up your group. Or, find out if someone will be recording the classes or demonstrations. This can be the most flexible way to get everything your business needs out of the presentations!
Plan Your Route
Does your convention or trade show offer a map? After making a schedule and finding the vendors you want to visit, mark the locations on the map clearly. This can save you a lot of searching if you have to go back and forth to a particular classroom or booth, and many trade shows or conventions can be quite crowded.
During the Show
Comfort is Key!
Trade shows and conventions involve a lot of walking, and often they’re on cement floors or other hard surfaces. With enough hours, that can be killer on your feet! Plan on wearing comfortable shoes, possibly with inserts. This is not the time to wear brand-new shoes of any kind. But if you must, use inserts and soften tough, uncomfortable edges with moleskin.
Along with wearing good shoes and comfortable clothing, you’ll need to take breaks. Even the best shoes don’t offer much protection from the impact of cement floors. Know where the rest areas are, or plan to attend classes so that you can get off your feet.
Finally, make sure you have plenty of water with you. That much walking and talking can be hard work, and you’ll need to stay hydrated to avoid illness or exhaustion.
Especially for fall and winter conventions, falling ill afterwards is a real risk. In huge groups of people, a cough or sneeze can spread to hundreds of people in a matter of minutes. Defeat illness before it starts by:
- Getting 8 hours of sleep per night
- Hydrating often (i.e. drinking when thirsty)
- Using hand sanitizer throughout the event
- Touching only what’s necessary (e.g. avoiding handrails if you don’t need them)
- Taking an immune supplement prior to the event, such as Airborne.
Engage with Vendors
The best way to learn about potential products or services is to talk to the people selling them! Don’t just wander by; if a booth interests you, stop to engage the people running it. They are most qualified to answer your questions and offer you further information you may want to refer to later.
After the Show
Some shows offer a lot of samples, and others offer products you might purchase to bring back home. Make a plan for how you are going to transport those samples and products! For example, not every convention is within driving distance. When readying your samples to take back, make sure you know what will fit in your checked or carry-on luggage. For everything you can’t fly home, have a plan to ship them back.
You can even plan this before you pick up any samples at all. Talk to the suppliers at the booths and see if they can send you the samples you are most interested in. Many of them will be able to ship their free samples right to your office! And if not, at least you will have a lighter load by weeding out the ones who can send you samples later.
Helping our clients have a successful trade show experience is a thrill for us, because we succeed when our clients succeed. Whether as a vendor or a buyer, let us help you succeed at your next trade show or convention.