Six important things you can do to improve success.

1. Follow Up on Show Leads

After you’ve spent considerable cash preparing and participating in a trade show be sure that when you get back to the office you follow up on show leads. You’d be surprised at how common it is for companies to neglect the leads they gathered at the show. Place proper value on the leads you’ve gone to so much effort to acquire. 

2. Do Your Daily Booth Preparation

It’s easy to get up for the first day of a show.  Remember that Day Two is just as important. Don’t ignore the smudges,  make sure the carpet is clean, and remove any stray candy wrappers. Every day is a new day in Exhibit-Land. Like Disneyworld, it’s gotta look perfect before the guests arrive.  If you have a Double Deck Exhibit, be sure and check the upstairs. It’s easy to overlook empty coffee cups but make sure that you don’t!

Next, create a checklist of things that your team can improve upon from day one.  A former baseball player recently stated that before he left the ballpark after a game he wanted to have talked to someone about his plan for the next game. It’s a good idea to sleep on your plan for the next day.

3. Partying and Socializing

It’s a trade show and it’s usually good to socialize and party during the off hours.  Just be smart about it and make an effort to make the time worthwhile. It seems like common sense but seek out after hour events where you can improve your relationship with clients, potential clients or suppliers. If none of that is available then by all means have some fun. Just don’t overdo it and remember that your first priority is to be fresh for the next day.

4. Packing and Unpacking

How you unpack or pack your booth will make your life much easier or much harder for the next show. The key to any successful trade show is planning and organization. Your exhibit is no exception.

Carefully unpacking the exhibit and organizing the packaging materials makes the assembly go faster and the repacking much easier.  You eliminate the head scratching that invariably occurs at the end of the show. When you take the time to repack the exhibit right, you ensure that the exhibit arrives at the next destination in good condition and ready for the next show.

5. Choose your shows carefully

This suggestion is more for companies on a budget and needing to make choices between shows. Sometimes you just have to throw your hat into the ring and so to a show to see if it works for your company. You can, however, do some homework before making the decision. Call up industry contacts you have and pick their brains. Ask questions like “What’s your opinion about this show”, “If you were in my shoes and had to pick, would you do this show”. Ask your suppliers or strategic partners what’s their take on the trade show and has it been beneficial? If possible, ask for specifics such as lead numbers, sales from the show, and promotional ideas. What works and what doesn’t work.

In the end, you have to decide based on your own experience. Sometimes the show would have been better if only you had done this or that. That’s fine. You’ll make the adjustment next year.

6. Walk the Show and Talk to Competitors, Suppliers, and Potential Partners

It’s tempting to just hang out in your booth. After all, it’s safe and comfortable. But trade shows are two way streets. Potential customers are there to learn and discover new products, services, and suppliers. You’re there to work with those customers . . . but you’re also there to learn and discover as well. Every show is an opportunity to improve your “game.” What are your competitors showing? What are they saying? Are there any new products or services which would benefit your company? Are there trends you’ve overlooked and need to study and implement?

No one is asking you to spy, but friendly conversation goes a long way with friends and foes alike. It’s all in your attitude and your approach. Don’t be afraid to say “Hello!” and ask how the show is going.