Tradeshow season is fast-approaching for promotional products professionals. Each year, companies set up exhibits across the country to introduce products, build relationships, and share catalogs and samples. The sheer volume of exhibitors is enough to make any promo newbie want to lock themselves in a hotel room and spend their week watching Ellen. Instead of giving in to the comfort of daytime television, plan out your attack. Here are some tips to save you from headaches:
Take care of yourself.
It’s easy to run out of steam after a day at an expo, especially since you’re on your feet talking to people all day. Listen to your body and take breaks. A well-rested mind and a belly full of food will help with brain function and increase productivity. Drink water even when you’re not thirsty, take vitamins even if you normally don’t, get a good night’s sleep and wear comfortable shoes (can’t go wrong with Danskos).
Set your tradeshow intentions.
Be an active attendee. Before you even leave for the expo, jot down exactly what you want to get out of your tradeshow experience. It is helpful to list one to three preferred suppliers for each of your bestselling categories and have an idea of the topics you wish to cover when you visit each booth. You also want to take note of inside people that have helped you throughout the year so you can sing their praises in-person when you’re talking to reps.
Map out your route.
Once you have a clear plan, schedule meetings and map out your personal tradeshow route. Some shows, like PPAI, offer special apps that make it easy to create a walk list prior to the show. The apps will guide you to each booth on your list based on the most efficient route.
Give yourself time to get inspired.
Dedicate time to walk the show floor and visit booths you overlooked. This is a chance to identify new trends. Take a journal with you to document interesting products and note the connections you made during your visits. Jot down quick reminders to help you review and reflect on your experience.
Take advantage of sweet deals and discounts.
Some suppliers offer specials at the booth as an incentive to get you to visit. Ask about self-promo specials. At the end of each show, exhibitors also tend to sell off demo items at discounted prices. Have a set budget in case those opportunities arise.
Attend educational seminars.
You’re never too old or too experienced to learn something new. Do you need more information about new trends, a specific type of product or decorating methods? Tradeshow season often includes educational opportunities that offer new skills and insights. Schedule time to attend a seminar. Research speakers’ backgrounds so you can go up to them after their presentations and exchange contact information.
Give yourself time to reflect.
Review your accomplishments at the end of the day and set your intentions for the next morning. If you went with a group of employees, get together for a happy hour or dinner and share the best ideas of the day.
Take advantage of networking opportunities.
Networking is a huge part of the tradeshow scene. Set a goal to meet with five new people per day. That number is easy to meet when you attend cocktail hours, dinners and after-hour events. Remember to bring your business cards to networking events so you can exchange contact information with valuable new connections. Take notes on the backs of each business card you receive to help you remember what you discussed with each person. That way you’ll be able to follow up with a relevant comment when you reach back. It is also a good idea to take a photo of the business cards you receive in case you misplace the physical copy.
Follow up when you get home.
Review the notes and contacts you may have made during your time at the show. Create sales strategies around trends you noticed and the actionable tips you might have picked up during your time at the show. This is also your time to follow up with your new network and organize contact information you gathered at each show.
Add the alphabroder and/or Prime Line® booths to your route.
Remember, alphabroder and Prime Line will be prominently featured throughout the tradeshow season. Visit our booths to check out all the new and favorite products, reconnect with your sales rep, enjoy complimentary cocktail hours and pick up catalogs and samples. Booth numbers are listed below. See you in January!
- ASI Orlando: January 5 – 6, 2020
- alphabroder booth #1401
- Prime Line booth #1400
- PPAI Expo: January 12 – 16, 2020
- alphabroder booth #2212
- Prime Line booth #5817 & 5820
- ISS Long Beach: January 17 – 19, 2020
- alphabroder booth #1024
- Northeast Expo: January 30 – 31, 2020
If you do plan to visit alphabroder and Prime Line booths this tradeshow season, remember to grab your catalogs. We’ve added more breakout books this year to streamline product sourcing. Find the catalogs that best serve you and your customers HERE.