5 Great Tips For Visiting Trade Shows

I am pleased to welcome back Janet Torley of Events forBusiness. Janet was with us a few months ago sharing her top tips on networking. Today she is drawing on her experience and an event organiser to shed light on how to get the most from visiting trade shows or business exhibitions.Watch the video or keep reading.


As well as the tip in this blog you may find the following books useful. If you are interested in buying The Beermat Entreprenaur by Mike Southon take a look at my blogpost based on his tips for the perfect Elevator Pitch. 


Be Prepared
First up is really an obvious tip but one that always seems to be forgotten by at least a handful of visitors to every trade show. Be prepared. If you have the opportunity check who the exhibitors are and try and find out a little about each of them. Whether you are looking for suppliers or potential customers you may prefer to target those who are geographically close to you so check out where each business is located. Also part of being prepared is remember to bring plenty of business cards. I have lost count of the number of times a visitors has confessed he/she forgot to bring any business cards or gives a lame excuse that they are waiting for the printer to deliver them. Business cards are your most basic means of marketing yourself and your company so make sure you have plenty.

Give Yourself Time
You are not going to get the most out of any exhibition if you do not give yourself enough time. Before the event take a black marker pen and block-off at least a couple of hours in your diary, any less and you have to ask yourself whether it is worth going at all. Popping in to the exhibition for half an hour just won’t cut the mustard, you need time to go round and chat with the stand holders and then talk to other visitors. Think of it as an extended networking event and then dedicate the necessary time in your diary.

You Are Not An Exhibitor
Get this clear in your mind, you are not an exhibitor. You haven’t paid to have a stand so don’t go along as if you are a stand holder who has wandered away fro their stand and is still selling. Keep your leaflets to yourself and don’t try and be sneaky and avoid the exhibitor’s fee. The business who have booked a stand will probably have paid anything from a hundred pounds to several thousand pounds depending on the size and location of the events and they will be less than pleased at you trying to muscle in FOC. So do not try selling to the exhibitors, apart from you taking up their time when they should be selling to other visitors you will annoy and cause offence. Furthermore if you are annoying the exhibitors they are hardly going to be in a frame of mind to buy from you, you will actually be shooting yourself in the foot. By all means collect information and details at the event but contact the people you want to talk to afterwards when they have time to speak to you. If you want to sell on the day be a good egg and buy a stand and everyone will be happy.

Be Comfy
The final tip is an entirely practical one and probably more applicable to the ladies, who are prone to wearing footwear that looks as an elegant means of torture than comfort. You are going to be on your feet for a few hours so wear comfy shoes. If you have a briefcase, laptop case, should bag etc. do you really need it? Having done it myself I know you will wish you had left it back at the office so it you can, travel light.

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