Planning Your Trade Show Participation As A Vendor

You did your research, you paid your bill and you are on your way to attending a trade show. Making sure that you maximize your time at the trade show is critical to your success – or failure – as a trade show vendor. To help make sure your time is well spent, consider the below points.

1. Plan a budget that includes the cost of partipation, marketing, travel, lodging, entertainment, samples, display booth and promotional products. Any other expenses that are specific to your show attendance should be considered, as well.

2. Set goals that include returning your investment, meeting new business partners, gaining new accounts and reaching out to the press. Remember that trade shows offer more than just an opportunity to showcase your product but also offer the opportunity for you to meet new people, leverage business deals, gain insight on your competition, learn about new technologies for your business and so much more. Set goals that will cater to all of these areas that interest you.

3. Determine what display you will use that will highlight your product effectively while also staying within your budget. Make sure you give yourself enough time to get this display ordered / ready / and shipped accordingly. Remember to including lighting, fixtures, banners and all other displays needs in your planning.

4. Select giveaways that complement your company brand and product. Remember to always include your contact information on the giveaway so that retailers, the press and more will remember you when they use that giveaway. That said, try to select a giveaway they will actually use and not toss once they return to their hotel room or back home.

5. Make sure the people attending the show for your company are well informed of your business direction, communication standards and company objectives. They should be passionate about what you are selling and capable of communicating to anybody under pressure since trade shows can get busy and hectic.

6. Have your product information printed and ready to go. People may just want some information about your company without stopping for long to take a peak at your product. Have a well organized packet of information available that includes product details (cost, colors, sizing, order details, case packs, special details), company details and contact details. Including crisp, attention grabbing photos is essential, as well.

7. Be aware and aggressive of your marketing outreach. Each trade show offers different support and different marketing plans for their attending vendors. Make sure you follow up so that you meet any deadlines necessary for directory listings, floor plan placements and any other details that will impact your success from attending the show. In addition, don’t forget to market your own attendance with active clients (it doesn’t hurt to schedule appointments in advance if they are willing) as well as clients you would love to see while at the show. Be aggressive in your outreach through phone calls, mailers, email blasts, Twitter updates and more so that no one forgets you will be there.

Finally, relax. Easier said than done, however if you go into the show too tense and too nervous, this will be visible to potential clients. The more shows you do, the more experience and confidence you will gain. And as  a vendor with big dreams, this is only the beginning!

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