For our industry, there is nothing better than the month of May. It isn't because of the lengthy Memorial Day Weekend or the exceptional weather. (although they also factor into it) Our big industry-wide trade show hits New York City and most of us get a chance to duck out of work to attend. See what Brandon had to say on it here.
Although not for another few days, I have spent my time (at work and at home) preparing for the 2 days of non-stop networking and marketing potentials. Here's just some of what I have done so far. Be sure to read carefully - it could come in handy for any trade shows you may have coming up.
1. Take Notes
Our ASI show gives us a chance to see new and trending product. I examine hundreds of products every time I go and choose the best ones to add to our website later on. Although we are often supplied a notebook and pen during the sign-in process, I find them to be too bulky to make quick notes. Instead, I use something similar to the Leeds Recycled Paper Jotter. This product is less than 3" x 3" and fits easily in my back pocket. In a matter of seconds, I can take out the pad, jot notes and put it back without any struggle.
2. Consider Using A Pen/Stylus
Complimenting piece of advice #1, I am bringing with me a miniature stylus/pen combo. Since getting it, I found that I can leave it concealed in my pocket and create notes very quickly - whether on a pad or on your tablet/smartphone. This also allows quick and easy switches between the old and new forms of note-taking.
3. Clean Yourself Up
Although it doesn't show now (I have a heavy 5 O'Clock Shadow going on) looking presentable at trade shows is a must. I will be ironing/washing my uniform beforehand and bringing mints/gum. As always, I will be doing my daily morning-time routine. (shower, brush teeth, etc.) Without all this, you'll be notorious for all the wrong reasons.
4. Read Your E-Mail
Since last week, I've noticed my Inbox at work filling up with requests to visit certain booths. Some promise for new products and opportunities to network while others create incentives (contests, giveaways, etc.) to bring you in. No matter what, research these companies/individuals. It gives you a chance to learn about what is being offered by the business/organization and can even help in creating a game-plan ahead of time.
Ignore the famous idiom "There's No Rest For The Weary" and take a few minute rest. Doing too much can cause you to crash and become far less resilient the next day or even during the latter end of that same day. A quick rest can allow you to organize some of your notes/business cards and even an opportunity to chew the fat with other potential clients/customers informally.
6. Keep Business Cards Safe
I had a problem last year where I didn't have a proper place for business cards. As a result, there were business cards that became so lost or unkept, that they showed up months after the trade show ended. This year, I will be removing my credit cards/business cards/discount cards from my wallet. This gives me ample business card space in something I am sure to check sooner than the bottom of a bag or the inside of a notebook.
Preparation is key for a successful trade show run. Be sure to plan ahead, use the above advice and always think on your feet. Feel free to post your advice in our comments section.