In a couple of weeks, we are kicking off convention season 2018. We are looking forward to connecting with past clients and bringing in new customers. Tradeshows (or conventions or expos) are the best time to do this. The week of March 18th, we will be heading to Las Vegas for the International Pizza Expo (more on this later!). As we gear up, we wanted to share 5 tips that we make sure to implement for each convention and think you will find them helpful as well. If you prepare in advance you will be more productive, things will go more smoothly and efficiently. Make it worth it!
#1: Get a good map of the show floor.
Most likely, the trade show you are attending will offer a map ahead of time. Get one. Check out where each of your desirable vendors will be and plan the most efficient route for your time at the tradeshow.
#2: Make a schedule.
It’s important before you make a schedule, to be sure that all of your appointments (if needed) are set. Then, make yourself a schedule including each vendor on your efficient route. Always give yourself more time than you think. Extra time will come in handy if you run into someone or have conversations with vendors that run over. In your schedule, try to leave time at the end of the tradeshow/convention to perhaps grab dinner or drinks with fellow attendees…this is a great way to network! You might also use this time to do some homework after the show (comparing notes, reviewing each vendor you saw and getting ideas together for possible orders so that you can be sure to take advantage of those great tradeshow/convention specials).
#3: Set appointments ahead of time.
Depending on the vendor, you may need to set up an appointment. Make sure you do your research to find out if you do. The earlier you do this, the better. That way, you know you won’t miss them and you can get a preferred time. It’s best to get the first or the last appointment of the day so that you can plan the rest of your time out. If you have to make more than 1 appointment, make sure to leave some time in between in case there is any run over.
#4: Create a checklist.
Plan ahead. With a checklist, you will have all of your must-see vendors and must-do events during the tradeshow/convention. This way you won’t miss out. Keep your checklist close by and refer to it periodically throughout the day to make sure you are keeping up. The night before the last day, review your checklist. You may feel the need to re-prioritize your day.
#5: Be prepared
Good things to pack for the tradeshow or convention might be extra comfy clothes and shoes, an extra bag to carry products/catalogs/merchandise in, your own branded gear, business cards, a name badge, a budget and of course, pack a smile!