So why attend a trade show?
Research the companies and determine ahead of time what you would like to find out by visiting each trade show display. Identify your goals based on whether companies are competition or a potential contact. If they are a potential contact, how would they specifically benefit your company? Have questions ready to ask exhibitors to save yourself time walking the floor.
Before the Show
Another good time-saving strategy when attending a trade show is to obtain a map and a directory of exhibitors before you arrive on location. Use the map to plan your route, and check your prioritized list of vendors against the directory to find out whether any vendors have been added or dropped out.
During the Show
During the trade show, be active in your quest for information. Don’t feel bad about passing by booths that don’t interest you. Like you, they are attending the trade show to generate new business, and they don’t want to waste time talking to someone who isn’t a potential customer.
Visit your targeted trade show displays, engage in a dialogue with the exhibitors, and ask questions. If handouts, samples or other materials are available, take only those you actually want. It can be difficult to tote a loose stack of glossy brochures, catalogues, and bulky product samples around a busy trade show floor.
If possible, arm yourself with an empty briefcase or duffel bag to stow materials. Use your time wisely to gather intelligence on your competition and make new industry contacts that will benefit your company.
After the Show
When the trade show ends, especially if it is a multiple-day event, take the time before you leave to make notes and organize the materials you gathered from attending the trade show .
If you need to mail reports, brochures or other materials to your colleagues, prepare the mailings right away while “who gets what” is still fresh in your mind. Make sure to store your trade show display safely so nothing is damaged and you can find everything you need the following day.
When you return from the trade show, remember to follow up with the contacts you have made—and start preparing for next year’s trade show.
This article on attending a trade show was written by Barry Siskind, author of “Powerful Exhibit Marketing.” www.siskindtraining.com
We attend many trade shows in a year both to support our principles, and meet our customers (Grindtec, Mach, etc.) Schneeberger, Pemamo and Palmary are three of our very active suppliers.