How to make the most of attending exhibitions and trade shows in 2017
If you are looking to buy or sell used printing equipment in 2017 then now’s the perfect time to plan your approach. One of the most important and arguably efficient ways to research and gather knowledge and information, will be to attend relevant trade shows or exhibitions.
For visitors, trade shows and exhibitions provide an ideal place to network. To meet, connect and build rapport with a wide range of people in one place. They offer the chance to meet suppliers and dealers, check out new developments and keep a close eye on what other people are doing in the industry. At the same time you can attend demonstrations, compare features and prices of products and meet exhibitors to ask them detailed questions. It can save you hours of phone calls or web searching.
However, to get the most out of your visit and the time you spend there, you will need to plan ahead and so take a look at our tips below on how to make the most of your attendance.
Before you go: planning and preparation
- What are the products and services you are interested in? You will need to make sure your targeted event has the right type of exhibitors. Exhibition organisers can give you detailed information about both the exhibitors and the visitors that come to their event.
- Pre-register for the event to avoid standing in long lines once you are there.
- To save time on the day, research the exhibitors you want to visit, find out how they differ and what they offer, and decide what you most want to know from them.
- Once decided, develop a plan of which exhibitors you want to visit and then organize your list into two parts - ""must see"" and ""want to see"" companies – this will help you prioritise once you’re at the exhibition.
- Make appointments with exhibitors you really want to meet so that you don’t miss out. It's worth setting up appointments in advance so that you don't waste too much time browsing and talking to people you already know. Ensure that you have their mobile telephone number to contact them on the day.
- Decide how much time you want to spend at the show and with each exhibitor - allow extra time for browsing, distractions and waiting in lines.
- Plan the seminars/workshops you want to attend and make time to attend them. Speeches by important industry figures, workshops, seminars and panel discussions can be informative and attract many of the key players in a sector.
- These events are ideal environments for networking so introduce yourself — everyone is wearing a badge and is there to talk business. By taking the initiative, you can promote yourself and your business and make valuable contacts. A good approach is to get invited to receptions and hospitality suites.
- Make travel and hotel reservations early to maximize on discounted rates.
- Take plenty of business cards to act as leave behinds and take a light and comfortable ""carry-all"" for accumulated materials.
At the Show: Making the most of your day
- Pick up a floorplan and show directory to help plan your route around the event. Make a note of the schedule of events at the show that you want to attend.
- Collect information that is of interest to you or that might interest others in your company. It’s always good to request literature and samples be mailed instead of having to carry them with you.
- Take time to chat to exhibitors of interest and find out whether they are relevant to your business.
- Look for networking opportunities. At workshops introduce yourself to people around you - hand out/collect business cards. Hook up with new contacts at mealtimes or breaks for added information.
- Carry a pad and pen to jot down important notes, or use the camera on your phone if you have one to capture any relevant information.
- Be prepared to push for answers to questions exhibitors are not prepared to answer.
- Avoid conversations with vendors you have no interest in.
After the Show: Time well spent
- Follow-up after the show for literature and samples requests.
- Make an action list and follow up on any new contacts you made, making further appointments if needed.