How We Work a Tradeshow

As I said in an earlier post, our entire office team went to our industry tradeshow. There were over 850 booths, with literally thousands of products. I am a bit anal when it comes to what happens at a tradeshow. We have 3 things in mind when we attend.

First, are the education classes; we all need to learn new things about the business and what the trends are for the year. Second, is to see the products that are shown in our new catalogs and third, when and where the fun events are held that we are going to attend while at the show.

To show you how important this is to our business I am going to relate a little story in regard to how I go about giving direction. Some will say it is overkill, but this is how I manage things in my life. I am a huge fan of lists.

It is important to see and feel the items that will be appearing in our catalogs. Our first catalog of the year, “Select,” was mailed out in January, so it was very important that the vendors in that catalog be sought out and each employee see the products first hand. It is also important to ask questions about each of the products, like who purchases this type of product? Do you have any case studies on your products that we can use? Production time, imprint colors, set up fees etc..

During the show, I sent each one of my employees on the show floor with a 10-page document. The first page was just an outline of the education classes they would be taking and a schedule of what everyone else was taking, including room numbers and times. The rest of the document outlined the vendors that were in each of our new catalogs, and their booth numbers, the overview of the educational classes, the events that they needed to attend and how to get to the hotel and convention center.

I just happened to stop by one of the booths, after my team had been there. My hands were full of catalogs and samples (I hadn’t felt the need to bring the bag provided to me the previous day). The booth just happened to be that of a bag and box vendor, and I am sure they thought I was only stopping in the booth to get a “free bag” to empty my hands. – However, I started asking them questions about their “Green Products” and told them that they were one of the vendors that were in our upcoming catalog called “Idea Showcase,” a catalog with over 14 pages of “Go Green” products that would be mailed at the end of that month.

I asked if maybe some of my team hand stopped by at some time during the show and asked questions about their products as well. The representative in the booth started laughing and said ‘Was that you who made the long list of vendors and booth numbers? I saw pages in one of your employees’ hands and asked if we were on some sort of list and they showed me this thick packet of pages of what they were supposed to do here at the show.”

We both laughed. It was at that moment that I realized my team of employees must think, at times, that I am a bit over the top. The factory representative showed me the rest of her product line, a lot of bags and boxes made from recycled paper, and sustainable goods. I won’t go in to detail here about all the exciting new products we saw, including the items from our new catalogs, but I will give you a link if you want to see the new line of Custom Books for Green Living.

By the way, I did get a free eco-friendly bag to put my items in before I left the booth.