Your Essential Trade Show Survival Guide
1. Bring business cards
Trade shows are all about getting your name out there. Having a business card to offer companies is essential. It means that you can keep connections after the show. Considering how you manage the cards you receive is also important. There are many apps available which read your business card and assign a contact. You can then keep these within a trade show folder and you know that you will be able to effortlessly keep in touch with key leads, without having to worry about losing the cards. A great Free app you can download is FoxCard.
2. Bring Water
Trade show halls are well known for being hot and drying places. Staying hydrated is vital to preventing headaches and tiredness. Have a water bottle on you that you can ask to be filled up.
3. Bring Breath mints
Feeling self conscious about your breath is the last thing you want to be worrying about when you are trying to make connections, sell your product, and brand. Having mints in your bag for any moments you may need them, is a must.
4. Wear comfortable Clothes
Everyone wants to make a good impression at a trade show, but you wont make a good impression if you don’t feel comfortable in what you are wearing. Choosing clothes that look smart, but are also comfy for the 9 hour day. Flat shoes are a must. It's also a good idea to check if there is a dress code, that you need to adhere to.
5. Bring healthy Snacks
You never know when you might get the opportunity to eat whilst at the show, so keeping healthy snacks on you is a great way to keep your energy levels up. It's essential to get key nutrients in that you will be loosing whilst in the trade show hall.
6. Know your Schedule
We have put together a trade show planner to help you with get organised. Look at whats going on at your trade show. Fill in essential talks you have booked into, and then in another colour talks you would like to go to. If there are any stands you want to visit jot down their numbers and tick them off as you see each one.
7. Bring a Chair
Not having somewhere to sit can be a problem and whether you are exhibiting or visiting 9 hours on your feet is a long time! Bring a chair so you can have a seat in any quiet moment, or if you are exhibiting you could sit to discuss your product and offer a seat to visitors to. People are more likely to take in what you have to say if they are comfortable.
8. Know Your Elevator Speech
This is your chance to tell any visitors exactly who you are and what you can do for their business. It should be short and spark interest in visitors, leading them to ask more and enter into a conversation about your products. It's called an elevator speech as you should be able to convey it to a person in the brief amount of time you have going up in an elevator with someone.
9. Bring a trade show life saver kit
The ultimate preparation is to have a life saving kit. This means no matter what you are prepared for the day. Have one with first aid bits you may need including; hand sanitiser, plasters, headache tablets and tissues. One for stationary; paper clips, rubber bands, business cards, pens, a stapler, notepads, and a marker. Also one for your electronics; chargers, dongle, memory cards, digital camera, and batteries.
10. Bring a Dongle
Trade shows are busy places and you are going to want to network online. By having a dongle with you you can do just that wherever you are in the hall. These small portable devices are easy to use and mean you can get online wherever you are.
11. Organise Travel and hotel Before the Show
Don't leave it until the last minute to plan your accommodation. Hotels and Travelodge's will fill up fast, especially if it is a large show you are attending. By organising well in advance you can prevent unnecessary stress, when you want to just be focused on your show. Make sure everyone you have attending the show knows exactly how they are getting there and where they are staying to prevent any problems on the day or the night before.
12. Bring a Portable Charger
Running out of charge is the last thing that you want when you are at the trade show, whether that's on your phone or a laptop that your are using for your exhibit. By bringing a portable charger you are able to charge your electronics wherever you are in the exhibit hall.
13. Keep your Goals in Mind
This is a vital point that so many people forget, use our planner and write down your key goals. Keep these in mind whilst you are at the trade show. Make sure you are doing what you can to achieve them, stay to your plan.
14. Check for bag restrictions
Check with the trade show website, and have a look at whether there are bag restrictions, you may need to leave large suitcases at your hotel. Check before you get the the show to save any stress or problems on the day.
15. Have storage space on your stand.
Having a space for spare promotional material, water bottles, your survival kit, and healthy snacks is key. We use an ottoman, which is extra seating space and allows you to keep all your materials safe together in one space.
16. Use social media a to support your networking
You have put time and effort into your trade show display, your plan, and preparing for the exhibit. Make the most of digital platforms to build awareness of what you are doing. Tweet the trade show you are attending and they will be proactive in retweeting and liking your content. Connect with others attending the event, on twitter, Linked in, and Facebook groups, and build your presence online as well as offline.