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How to Prep for Trade Show Success

Tom Doyle
by Tom Doyle on March 14, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Trade shows are an important chance for you to nurture relationships with your vendors. It is also your opportunity to shine as a representative of your dispensary.


tradeshow manThat's why it's important that you take some time to carefully plan your trip.  Some advance planning can help make your experience less stressful and more successful!

Here's a handy check list of things you should do before and even after a trade show that will help you get started:

At least 1 Month Before the Show:
  • Book your flight and hotel - Don't leave this to the last minute! The last thing you want is to be inconvenienced by a hotel so far away from the venue or an overpriced plane ticket.

2 Weeks Before the Show:
  • Drop off dry cleaning - When attending meetings and networking, you want to look your best. Have your suit dry cleaned and pressed.

  • Make meetings - Be sure to reach out to everyone you'll need to meet with at the trade show. Set a date, time, and place for your meeting and schedule it in.

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1 Week Before the Show:
  • Tickets and vouchers - Be sure to print and pack your plane tickets and hotel vouchers. You don't want any any related mishaps to happen even before the trade show begins. At least 2 days before your flight, confirm everything with the airline and hotel to make sure that your reservation hasn't changed.

  • Pick up dry cleaning - Make sure everything you sent to the cleaners came back in order.

  • Trade show badge - Your badge is your key to the entire trade show. Be sure to have it with you when you're preparing your stuff. If you're picking it up at the venue, come a little early before the trade show officially opens so you can grab it at the desk.

  • Map your route - Trade shows tend to be huge venues with a million and one things going on at the same time. It's easy to get lost or distracted. Check out the trade show's official website for a map of participating companies and pin down which booths you need to go to. Map your route so you have an easy way to get from point a to b.

  • List of booths to visit - Stepping foot in the trade show for the first time can be overwhelming at first. Having a list of the booths you'd like to see will help you remember everything you wanted done.

  • Pack Your Trade Show Essentials- You have to be prepared for anything during the show. Here's a list of the trade show essentials you shouldn't leave behind:

  • Small bag/satchel - Bring a small bag with you when you head over to the venue to store all your trade show essentials.

  • Itinerary - Keep a schedule of your meetings with you, maybe on your phone or a day planner, so you don't forget to attend any of them.

  • Business cards - If you're going to be attending meetings and networking with new suppliers, it's important that you have your contact information to hand out. Keep a whole stack on you and make those new connections.

  • Pen and paper - You never know when you need to write something down, maybe a name, number, or booth to visit.

  • Healthy snacks - Just like needing to stay hydrated, you need to have some healthy snacks in case you get too busy to eat a proper meal. Make sure to keep it healthy so your mind stays sharp and focused. Some good snacks to pack are power bars, granola bars, or nuts.

  • Portable cell charger - Depending on how much you rely on your cell phone, you may find your battery drained midway through the day. Invest in a portable charger to keep your phone alive the whole time. Here are some inexpensive options if you dont already have one.

  • Mints - Networking means you meet a lot a people and of course, you want to give them the best first impression. Be sure to have a pack of mints you can pop in your mouth after taking lunch or snacking.

  • Tissues - Tissues are always a necessity when you're out and about. Keep it handy in case you need to wipe anything away!

  • Tide To-go pen - Accidents happen! But this miracle marker lets you erase that sloppy food stain on your shirt.

  • Lip balm - Event halls tend to get really dry and its only a matter of time before you feel your lips start to chap. To avoid feeling uncomfortable and self-conscious because of chapped lips, carry some lip balm on you.

  • Receipt envelope - Chances are if you are attending for business, you will need to submit an expense report. Collect all your receipts in one place for easy filing.

  • Contact numbers - If you are travelling with a group or some colleagues, keep their contact information on your cell. Just in case you get lost or separated from the group, you'll be able to keep in touch.

  • Petty cash - You never know when you'll need cash for emergencies. Keep some on you because the nearest ATM may probably charge exorbitant withdrawal fees.

  • Extra bag - If you plan to do a lot of buying on the spot, make sure to have a way to lug your brand new inventory around.

At the show:
  • Hydrate - The worst thing you can do during a show is to not drink water. It's important to keep hydrated, especially when you're spending most of your day on your feet. Plan to buy a bottle during the show to carry around with you. If you're feeling sluggish, that's almost definitely a sign that your body needs water. Another tip is to take extra water bottles with you back to your hotel in case you get thirsty at night.

  • Big Healthy Breakfast - If you're not a breakfast person, a trade show might be the time to pick up this morning habit. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it prepares your body for the long day ahead. Fill your body with a nutrient rich, high protein breakfast. Try and avoid sugary treats, not only are they bad for you, but they inevitably leads to the dreaded sugar-crash.

After The Show:
  • Expense report - Don't wait too late to file your report so you can get reimbursed right away!

  • Touch base with new connections - Maintain relationships with the new people you've met. Maybe send a quick email to recap what happened during the trade show.

  • Evaluate - Get together with your colleagues and take some time to determine what parts of your experience were successful, could be improved, or could have been eliminated entirely. Take notes and review them prior to planning your next trade show.

Phew!  Now that's good prep work.

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Tom Doyle
Written by Tom Doyle
Tom Doyle is Frames Data’s Director of Marketing & Key Accounts, and has been working as a marketer within the optical industry for over 10 years. In that time he’s worked with many software companies on new integrations, and has developed an understanding of what works and what doesn’t. Tom is also keenly interested in productivity methodology, the color orange used in marketing, and karaoke. He is also a die-hard cat person.
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