Love it or Hate it, it is HERE!

English: A frisbee made by Wham-O.

English: A frisbee made by Wham-O. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tradeshow season has arrived! You may be excited to see favorite representatives, old cronies, and meet new service associates. Or you could be dreading the 3 day feet throbbing, back aching, little sleep, less food, head pounding process of . . .Attending ANOTHER Show.

In a recent article, Tips for Tradeshow Attendees?  author Brad White offers ways to streamline the tradeshow process, making it more productive and profitable. He warns, “Don’t just walk the show looking for something ‘cool’ or ‘new’.” Instead, come with a plan.  Create Needs Lists for each client.

Ask questions such as:

  • Who is their target audience?
  • Where do they use promotional products?
  • What is the goal of their promotion?

Knowing these answers before hand will help narrow your search. And being prepared and focused before your Nikes ever hit the show floor, will save valuable time and thousands of steps. Focus on effective solutions, not on products.  Avoid the What’s new? trap. Ask suppliers for advice, ideas, non-traditional applications that make them unique. Like selling upside down imprinted Frisbees as plate holders for a corporate picnic.

  • Target designated factories for specific projects
  • Working the show really means, working your vendors
    • Like a torpedo, it’s best to apply a direct approach with them
  • Pose questions such as:
    • How can YOU help ME sell your product?
    • Which of your products is achieving the greatest success?
    • WHO is selling them?
    • What should I avoid when selling your product and how do you handle resolutions? Ask for examples here too

The White article presented a valid point. “Vendors can dramatically improve or damage your reputation with clients” – get to know these folks! Use the one-on-one interaction on the show floor as a way to qualify suppliers.

The use of Apps on your smart phone can make the information you gather at the show easier to manage when you get home. Two apps they mentioned were; CardMunch – easily transfers contact information to your phone and EverNote – takes pictures, makes notes.

Finally, here are some reminders to make your next show experience a more positive one.

  • Wear comfy shoes (gel inserts can really help)
  • Hydrate, and eat something for breakfast. Carry water and small snacks of protein to eat continually throughout the day (especially if you don’t stop for lunch)
  • Set your calendar with important events and meetings, with the proper time zone. You don’t want to miss the meetings that unveil or announce something new. Like new pricing, for better margins!

If possible, go to the last day of the show – it’s usually slow so you can have better supplier conversations. Those three o’clock raffles can truly result in some HUGE prizes. Just ask my husband who won an ipad one year, when his card was pulled from only nine that were entered.

Best of all – Enjoy – It’s Showtime!

Jan Davies
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