Tradeshows – Part 1 of 2 Attending A Tradeshow

Our company attends one to two large tradeshows per year, a smaller regional show and sometimes a morning “road show” held at a local hotel in our area. With the number of shows out there, sometimes it is hard to decide if you are getting your return on investment.


Here are some tips to having a successful show.

1)      Try to get a list of vendors that will be attending the show prior to attending.

a.       Use this list to highlight those vendors you use on a regular basis – these are the booths you will want to visit first.

b.       If you have the ability, run a report on the amount spent in the previous year with each of these vendors (this helps you when you are talking to them in the booth, as well as determining whether you should keep them on your vendor list, increase your sales with them, or find out what they can do to help you increase your sales your objectives with either new products, learning more about their existing products etc.


2)      Look at the remaining vendors and do some research on them to see if what they offer is something you may have overlooked in the past. Highlight these booths in a secondary color as booths to visit after you have visited your primary vendors.


3)      Most shows have some sort of education – get a listing of the classes, information on the instructors and assign your team to attend the seminars that most align with what your priorities are for the year. This could be classes on good customer service – which of course you would send your customer service reps to, but also your receptionist, and even your accounting department may be able to benefit from learning a few customer service tips on handling difficult customers and helpful organizational tips.


4)      Make plans for your attendees to be a part of the key note speaking engagement. Usually this is a very motivational speech that everyone walks away feeling good about themselves and with some tidbits to help them stay motivated after the show.


5)      Every company has objectives as to why they send their staff or salespeople to tradeshows. Make a list of these objectives. We usually provide our staff with a packet of information that includes the hotel information, directions to the convention center (if applicable) the booths we want them to visit, and the objective for each of the booths. This could be asking about new products, getting a case history on who purchases the products and the time of year their products sell best. It might just be to put a name with a face. Whatever your objective is, you need to put that in writing so everyone understands the purpose of their place at the tradeshow.


6)      Make sure to add in some fun for those attending the show. Sign them up for the tours or gala parties that will most likely be offered through the event coordinators.  Or plan a dinner at a themed restaurant or a night out at a famous night spot.


7)      When the tradeshow is over – plan a staff/sales meeting and go through your list of objectives. Find out how you can use what they learned at the show to better your business.


If you do these seven things, you are sure to have a much more motivated work force and you will reach your objectives.