How to Make the Most Out of Your Trade Show Visit

Posted October 04, 2017

In the busy day-to-day world of running a business, why should you take time off to attend a trade show, exhibition or conference event? To help you run a more effective, efficient and profitable business. The business climate is constantly changing – from new trucks and hauling equipment, to new computer equipment and services, to new regulations – and to stay competitive, you need to stay informed. A trade show and conference is a terrific way to do this in a short period of time. Most shows are only a few days long and many offer exhibit halls as well as educational sessions. You have the chance to meet multiple vendors, test equipment and services, take advantage of show specials and see friends, colleagues, peers, and even competitors.

But how do you get the most out of your time at a trade show?

  1. Determine your goals for the event
    • Do you want to learn about a specific topic; research a particular type of equipment; make a purchase; change vendors; network with your peers? Your goals will determine how you spend your time at the show
  2. Plan your schedule
    • If your goals include learning (attending conference sessions) and/or networking, you’ll need to identify when the relevant sessions and events are being held
    • Schedule these sessions and events on your calendar so your time is blocked and you can schedule event reminders
  3. Plan your route
    • Review the exhibitor list and determine which ones you MUST see, would like to see and would-be-nice to see
    • Review the show floor layout – plot out the booth locations of each of the chosen exhibitors, then plan your route the way you’d plan your hauling route – efficiently
  4. Set appointments
    • This is especially important if you have specific people with whom you want to meet – some exhibitors don’t bring everyone on their team, and some of these will only be at a show for a day or two. Setting an appointment will ensure that the person with whom you want to meet will actually be available for the meeting
  5. Book early – especially your hotel rooms
    • Some of the hotels closer to the exhibition hall will fill up faster, so the earlier you book your room, the more likely you are to get your first selection.
    • Use the recommended hotel booking company. There are a lot of hotel scammers and they often pretend to be the “official” hotel booking company. Using the true official booking company will protect you from scammers.
  6. Wear comfortable shoes
    • You will do a lot of walking at the show, so make it easy on your feet and legs. It’s difficult to be productive if you are nursing blisters.
  7. Follow-up after the show
    • Take notes during your meetings and sessions so you can review your take-aways and learnings. This also allows you to determine if your time at the event was worth it – so you can determine if you want to return the following year.
    • Follow-up with the people you met, especially the ones from whom you want to purchase or get additional information.

Trade shows and conferences can be extremely valuable, if you plan wisely. We hope to see you at all our upcoming trade shows.

And, if you are planning to attend WasteExpo, we have VIP tickets (free expo entry and discounted conference entry).


Julie Murphy
About
Julie
Vice President – Marketing
Julie Murphy is a trade show veteran, having spent the last 25+ years attending, planning and working trade shows. Many of the suggestions provided above (especially #6) went unheeded at one time or another and she hopes you can learn from her experiences.