There is no doubt that attending trade shows lays at the core of the progress and education for many businesses. The fair market has been expanding and even in the not-so favorable economic conditions, is continuing to rise. It’s easy to spot why – a gathering of like-minded people with similar expectations and business goals creates a lot of opportunities and enables to keep up-to-date in the game.
It’s not always easy to get the most out of a trade show, though. The sheer number, size and attendance volume of them can complicate the process of building a business-enriching experience. Here’s how to plan your journey well, so you maximize your gains with each visit at an exhibition.
As there are tips for every stage of the process, it’s useful to enlist them in three steps: before, during and after it:
– Prepare: you need to do your homework and plan your visit taking care of a lot of aspects. The crucial thing is to research what exhibitors and businesses you can expect at the place. Refer to the event website, talk to your clients and in general survey your opportunities.
There is also a huge number of people it makes sense to meet. In order not to get lost, you have to plan your meetings ahead and set up a fixed schedule. Otherwise you’ll end up in a mess having too much or too little to do. Haphazard is not an option here if you value your own time.
To that, book your place to stay in advance – the busier trade show, the bigger chances the vacancies will be worth their weight in gold. Remember to pack appropriately – clothes and shoes that will be comfortable but still make you look professional.
– Be the early bird: pre-registration is always the smartest way to go, as long as the iBeacons don’t take over anyway. The first reason, the money, is too obvious to elaborate on. Time is also an easy one – anyone who’s tried to check in on site knows the pain. But pre-registering also helps you prepare – you’ll be among the ones who receive lots of event info and if you plan on keeping your finger on the pulse, this is the source.
At the show:
– Check the agenda: there are usually lots of insight to get from seminars, lectures and workshops that accompany the exhibition. You can learn much from the influencers and leaders, so make sure to take notes be open to absorb. To find your way around and prioritize your schedule, you’ll probably use a mobile app.
– Network: Needless to say, as you’ll have probably scheduled all the meetings if you followed the previous steps. It’s the essence of trade show participation – connect with people and businesses relevant to you. But remember not to overbook, or get stuck at single stands for too long, cause it can squander your networking potential. And on an end note, remember to bring a LOT of business cards.
– Assess: gather up and file the prospects, business cards and insights. Evaluate their value for you and see if you’ve fulfilled your initial objectives. Also, read up on the Internet with other participants’ summaries and reports. They’ll be able to tell you what you have probably missed e.g. about the emerging trends and you’ll be able to prepare better for the future.
– Use the materials: you’ll probably return home with a whole bag of promotional materials. It’s tempting to just dispose of them immediately, but it may be a big mistake. Chances are there are future opportunities and a lot of useful commercial info bundled in that very pile. Even if these materials are not relevant or the contacts are of no interest to you, you can pass them among your colleagues who will more often than not find something worth their while there and pick it up.