Attending a trade show as a first-time vendor can be overwhelming. With the cost and variety of available trade shows, it’s important to attend the ones that give you the biggest return on your time and money with valuable business connections. How do you do that? Start by following these five tips to make the most of each trade show you attend.
1. Know before you go.
Doing your research prior to an event can ease those pre-show jitters. Find out key information such as who the target audience is, how many attendees are expected, how the event is advertised, and which competitors are attending. Having this log of information will get you pumped and ready to show your best side.
2. Don’t be a one-man band.
The best vendors always have a sidekick. If you don’t have employees or co-workers to help represent your business, take a trusted friend to staff your booth as you walk the floor. Avoid awkward encounters by giving your partner a crash course on your business and products so that they can speak to prospects in your absence.
3. Have a plan.
Obtain a copy of the floor plan prior to the event and map out a route to minimize any wasted time. Review the attendee list and create a list of businesses you’d like to connect with while at the trade show. If possible, reach out to these businesses beforehand to introduce yourself and schedule a meeting time during the event.
4. First impressions count.
At trade shows, it’s easy to judge a book by its cover. Let your company shine by keeping all branding clear and consistent with your marketing message. Be ready to engage with guests by creating a clean and inviting atmosphere that is distraction free.
Remember, you are the face of the company at these events.
Put your best foot forward by maintaining a clean and professional appearance for each trade show. No matter the event, it’s best to dress things up a bit by following a professional dress code.
5. The fortune is in the follow-up.
Have a method to gather contact data from prospects who visit your booth in order to stay in touch after the trade show. Holding a raffle or giveaway is a great way to obtain contact info. The prize can be a product sample or a gift card to a local business. Once you have collected a prospect’s contact information, it’s best to follow-up within 48 hours of the trade show.
Trade shows are an effective way to make valuable business connections. These five tips will allow you to create a personalized routine that works best for you and your company. So, go ahead. Book that trade show and make it work for you.
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