You’ve marked the date(s) on your calendar, pre-registered to attend, and booked your flight and hotel. You might be thinking, “I’m ready to go!” Not so fast. After investing your time and hard-earned money, don’t you want to be sure that you’re getting the most out of the trip? Of course you do. Lucky you, we’ve put together 5 handy tips to make sure you’re doing just that.
Follow the below 5 tips to ensure that you get the most out of your next trade show visit:
Get The Most Bang For Your Buck
Let’s face it: visiting a trade show can often be a pricey endeavor. Between the flights, hotels and registration fees, the expenses can add up quickly. However, a trade show can also be one of the best investments you can make for your business – there’s nothing quite like getting some face time with old and new business contacts and vendors alike. To get the most bang-for-your-buck, do a little research and find out if any other industry trade shows are taking place at the same time in the city (or even venue!) you’re visiting. Why not take advantage of other opportunities to connect with contacts in your industry while you’re already in town?
Pre-Planning Is Key
Do not give in to the urge of waiting until you arrive at your hotel, or even the show floor, to plan how you will spend your valuable time. A few weeks prior, take a look at the show’s website and take note of the show’s official hours, special events and seminar schedules. Then, start divvying up your time according to a simple formula: 30% for walking the show floor, 20% for education and planned special events and 10% for unexpected networking opportunities.
Also, don’t forget to sign up for the show’s official email list and follow along on social media – this is where you will find the most up-to-date information about exhibitors, seminars, and special events as it becomes available.
Engage Before You Arrive
Why wait until you arrive to start making valuable new connections? Social media is a great way to engage with other attendees and exhibitors before hitting the show floor. Take a look at the show’s website and follow their key accounts to stay up-to-date on show happenings. Take note of the show’s official hashtag and use it to join the conversation. If you have a list of key contacts or brands you’re hoping to connect with, seek them out on social media ahead of time or even shoot them an email to arrange an appointment during the show.
Get Ready To Network
We all know the basics: stock up on business cards, put on your most professional outfit, and don’t be shy. But do you have your elevator pitch down? Think ahead about what you want to say to possible business partners and vendors to clearly explain what you do. Start with writing down a paragraph about the value your business or brand provides. Then edit that down even further: simplify your main point to two or three sentences, MAX. Rehearse your delivery. After all, a big part of successful networking is making a great first impression!
Don’t Forget To Follow Up
What good are networking efforts and new connections if you don’t follow up? After meeting new contacts or engaging in conversation with a possible new business partner, take a few moments to make a note regarding your conversation and any next steps discussed. You’ll be glad you did when it’s time to sort through all of the business cards you’ve collected! Finally, follow up with key contacts in a timely manner – we suggest waiting no longer than one week after the show to reconnect with new contacts.