Trade shows provide a welcomed opportunity to showcase products, learn about new developments and technologies, and network with others in your industry; they are still commonplace among young professionals even in our digital age. If you have been an exhibitor and featured a booth at a trade show then you likely did your research ahead of time in terms of booth etiquette, tips and marketing ideas. For the trade show attendee, there are also a few things to consider. We have put together a list of five essentials to take away from a trade show to determine whether or not it was worth your precious time and money.
Answers to Your Questions
Make a list or an agenda of 5 to 10 key pieces of information you’d like to gain from your experience as a trade show attendee and make sure you answer them. This could include info on the latest technology and products in your field, indentifying main competitors and potential partnership opportunities. Next, outline a plan of attack to answer these questions, remembering to give yourself enough time at the show to account for crowds, interruptions and long lines for that needed mid-afternoon coffee or snack.
Empty Business Card Holder
If there is anywhere you can network and give business cards away without any shame, it is at a trade show. Don’t forget to take all opportunities to share your cards. You will likely change your mind as you would like your cards to look by the time the box in the office is close to running out so don’t worry about being “economical” (i.e. stingy) with the distribution of them.
Calls to Action
It is one thing to walk away with piles upon piles of business cards, but how about a call to action? If you meet someone intriguing or who could be a potential new business relationship, tell him or her to expect a phone call or email from you the next week or make a loose meeting on the spot. Make a personal note on your business card before handing it over to add a personal touch so that the receiver easily remembers you and knows you are serious.
You know you made the wise decision to attend a specific trade show if you walk out of it chatting with your peers or business partners about all the new connections you met, interesting pieces of information learned and new products either tried or demonstrated. If you leave passionate, excited and with a brain full of ideas for your business then the show was likely a success. For this to happen, make sure you make the most of your time at the show.
We can always use a pen and usually walk away from trade shows with a handful in our purse or briefcase, which inevitably find their way to our desk and desk drawers. This means that company logos are literally in the palm of our hands for months, should we so need or desire their services. Depending on the nature of the trade show or conference, you may return home with more lavish and useful gifts like iPod Shuffles and high quality tote bags or laptop bags.