Trade shows are an excellent platform to promote your business, but the better prepared you are, the better. So, before arriving at the trade show itself, consider the following, and add them to your checklist of things to do.

#1: Order the essentials ahead of time

Don’t order your essentials last-minute, because if something goes wrong with the ordering and shipping processes, you won’t have what you need for the trade show. So, think about what you need during the early stages of your planning. As examples:

  • Business cards. You need something to hand out to other attendees, so ensure you’re armed and ready to go with cards that are professionally branded.
  • Name badges. To make your life easier when introducing yourself, and to ensure people know what company you represent, ensure you have name badges and the corresponding id lanyards for you and any of your employees attending the event. 
  • Branded freebies. As part of your marketing at the event, give out freebies to the people who visit your exhibition stand. From mugs to pencils, hire a branding company to prepare the items you can give away at the trade show.
  • An exhibition stand. This is a biggie as if you really want to turn heads at the trade event, you need a stand that catches the eyes of the other attendees. They can be expensive, although you might be able to hire something at an affordable price if you shop around. 

#2: Research the trade event

The event will be marketed online and through promotional materials, so get as much information as you can ahead of time. As examples:

  • Find out who the guest speakers are. Most trade shows have at least one guest speaker, so find out in advance who will be attending. If there is more than one, you might not have time to listen to everybody, so commit to research to find out which speakers have to more to offer you and your company.
  • Check out the space available. Before registering your business, try to get an idea of the best position for your exhibition stand. If possible, try to be as centralized as possible, as you are bound to get more foot traffic coming your way. 

#3: Other important things to do

There is more to add to your to-do list, so consider the following for a few examples.

  • Have a dress rehearsal. Practice makes perfect, so ensure your sales reps are well-versed in what they need to say to attendees when they visit your stand. And focus on such things as body language and handshakes too, and make sure you’re as ready as your employees are for those all-important introductions and conversations.
  • Research your rivals. What will your rivals be getting up to at the event? By visiting their websites, and by checking the show’s promotional materials, you might get an idea of what to expect from them. Take note and then create a plan to better them at the event. 
  • Make contact early. There will be hundreds of people at the trade show, so if there is anybody you specifically want to meet, send them an email in advance. You can then arrange meeting times before, during, or after the event. Contact the trade show organizer for a list of attendees and contact details. 

By taking these steps, you will be trade show ready. This will ensure the day won’t be a wasted one, and your business might well profit as a result of your attendance at the event. 

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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