Trade Show Survival Tips
1) Think "Feet" First
You are going to be on your feet all day so wear comfortable shoes, you can even buy special insoles to make things comfier. It is also good to have some trainers in the car to switch into for pack down and the drive home (but be aware that some venues require hard shoes to be worn for pack down).
2) Book A Hotel
Don't be one of these insane people who gets up crazily early and drives for a few hours to arrive when the show opens. Make your boss book a hotel for you. The more awake and fresh you are the better salesman you will be.
3) Plan To Generate Leads
In a busy work life it can be easy to just book the stand, do all the logistics and not consider how you are going to approach the show strategically. You should make plans to do things that generate as many leads as possible and maximise ROI. Be sure to read my blog post on How To Increase Exhibition Leads.
4) Take A Break
Make sure you take an hour lunch break during the show, even if you are the main person in charge. It is important to look after yourself.
5) Have Alcohol Rules
In is not uncommon at shows to see hung over (or even worse drunk) staff on stands. A hungover staff member is not going to come across well to potential clients, so it is advisable to limit your alcohol consumption and be in bed by midnight each evening so you are fresh and ready to sell.
6) Avoid The Traffic
There can be a temptation to hit the road at the earliest opportunity. But it can be a lot less stressful to leave at different times to avoid bad traffic. I have one client who always travels back day after the show so there is no panic to pack down quickly and hit a long journey. The NEC actually has a cinema on site, I will sometimes watch a movie after an exhibition finishes so my drive back is not during the rush hours.
7) Water, Water, Water!
You are on the stand talking virtually non-stop all day, make sure you have lots of bottled water on hand to keep you hydrated. Another pro-tip is to put your initials on your bottle top with a sharpie so your bottle does not get mixed up with your co-workers.
8) Install Breakdown App On Phone
Most breakdown companies will have a phone app that you can use to summon roadside assistance. Get this installed on your phone so you don't end up phoning and being kept on hold for ages (Green Flag once kept me on hold for over an hour by a roadside in freezing temperatures, that was just to ask for assistance and did not include the time waiting for the assistance to arrive!).
9) Have Checklists
Nothing is more annoying than setting up at an exhibition and realising you have forgotten something important. If you do lots of shows be sure to have checklists of everything that you need to do and pack before each show.
10) Book A Magician
I am a little biased in this suggestion... having a good exhibition magician on your stand will greatly increase the amount of qualified leads you engage with and also make the event much more fun for your staff. And more lead means more potential sales, which means it will make your boss happier.
If you have any upcoming exhibitions then I would absolutely LOVE the opportunity to discuss how we can use magic to increase your ROI. Please don't hesitate to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07512 322 673 if this would be of interest.
Have fun at your next show!