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These days there seem to be trade shows for just about everything. With so many options available, it’s important to pick and choose the one (or ones) that represent the best return on your time away from the office. Making the most of the time you have at a trade show is the key to getting a return on your investment – there is more to a trade show than endless breakout sessions and free food! Here are a few tips to help you make the best use of your time.
Make arrangements in advance to meet with key people, whether you use traditional
channels like phone or email, or communicate through Twitter using the event hash
tag. There is no better time to network with the influential people that you may
only see once or twice a year. Some of the best networking can be done between sessions
or during the evenings. Find some common ground (like a similar customer base or
Have something new that you can share
Make sure that you have some new direction or offering that you can share with your vendors and even your peers. Discuss how you are staying relevant in today’s market place and what you see trending. Technologies change at the speed of light and new uses for existing technologies can help grow new opportunities all around.
Size up your competition
Be prepared to run into, and chat with, your competitors. Don’t be afraid to share some of the good experiences that you have recently had, and listen if they share theirs. Having good competition makes everyone improve their offering. Anyone who is not keeping up won’t last for long in today’s marketplace.
See the latest and greatest
Whether you’re attending a trade show as a vendor or a participant, take the time to walk the floor and familiarize yourself with new product offerings and/or complimentary products. For manufacturers, seeing what’s new from other companies can help you stay in front of the latest technologies. If you’re a reseller, this is the time to make new contacts, find new markets and discuss potential opportunities with the manufacturers themselves. The vendors and manufacturers at trade shows want you to be successful so find out how they can help you reach your goals.
Come early, leave late
Trade shows are most often held in places that people will enjoy. The hotel hosting the event will typically extend a discounted rate for a room or amenities directly before and after the tradeshow. Make the most of your trip by staying an extra day or getting in a day early. See the sights, hit the beach and don’t be in such a rush to get through the show. You will be in better shape to get the most out of any show if you are relaxed and enjoying your stay. Plus, since many tradeshows have events scheduled for every waking moment, this time could be used to schedule meetings with key contacts.
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