Participating in trade shows can require a major investment of time, money, and resources. Trade shows can be incredibly effective, but they can also be a complete waste of time and money. Your potential for success at a trade show depends a great deal on your advance preparation. To maximize your participation consider the following before you’re off and running to Swana's Solid Waste Convention, WASTECON.
WASTECON is the premier industry-focused conference that brings you what’s new and exciting in collection, processing, marketing and management of compost, recyclables and solid waste. WASTECON® is a chapter of The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) which has been the leading professional association in the solid waste field. The association serves municipal solid waste professionals throughout North America with conferences such as WASTECON®, certifications, publications, and technical training courses.
1. Gauge Prospecting Opportunities
Be tough in your evaluation of a show's worthiness by profiling the exhibitors to be sure it's worth your time to attend. Pick out the top 10-20 exhibitors your prospects would be interested in. If there are exhibitors selling similar products/services to your company this can indicate good prospects will attend.
Research websites, social media presence, Google map locations (some businesses look bigger in their perception than they are in reality). Try to narrow the list down to the top 10-15.
Avoid the confusion and long lines at the show by pre-registering for your booth or name badge. Also, now is the time to plan to bring any employees who would greatly benefit from attending the trade show. Attend seminars and workshops if available, these educational presentations are part of the reason you're going.
3. Book Hotel
Make reservations for transportation and lodging early on. Try to book a hotel very close to the trade show. Check to see if the trade show organizers have reserved rooms at a discount. Bonus tip: Check out off brand sites like AirBnB sometimes there is a better deal closer to the event and you'll have a kitchen, which cuts down on expenses.
Make sure to get your trade show display spruced-up and packed and ready to go in your trade show crate. Make sure to allow enough time for the crate to arrive in the loading area within the time line dictated by the event coordinators.
Having a painted crate can help aid in identification once your on-site waiting for a forklift driver to deliver your trade show crate... all so you can unpack it and set up for the event.
5. Gather Marketing Materials
Put together marketing collateral to have on hand at the trade show, bring more than you intend on handing out. Remember to include: timely information, a one-page company biography, a corporate structure chart, sales figures, complete product information (specs, distribution methods, pricing), photos, and key contact info. Don't forget to bring plenty of your own business cards!
6. Practice Pitch
Decide how you'll pitch your product to exhibitors and attendees. Practice your pitch and your presentation of the marketing package until it comes naturally and doesn't sound like a pitch.
7. Set Goals
Ask yourself what you want to get out of it. Do you expect to sell, learn, brand, or launch? Have set goals of what you'd like to accomplish such as; a number of vendors to visit, increased visibility, gaining exposure, purchasing, attending seminars, new product discovery, or specific contacts you'd like to acquire in the industry.
You can have more than one goal, of course, but the point is that you need to be clear about what your participation in trade shows is going to achieve. Set your objectives (i.e.10 new orders, 50 contacts, 25 qualified leads, three articles in trade journals, etc.) and track your results.
8. Know your Company's Needs
You can come back from the event with helpful information for other members of your team such as Purchasing, HR, Marketing or Production. imagine, by knowing your own company's needs before the show you can seek out:
- New suppliers who can provide efficient purchasing which can save money.
- New job applicants often frequent trade shows, this is a great opportunity to meet some new talent.
- Competitor analysis is as easy as stopping by their booth and grabbing some collateral.
- New technology can affect everything from tools, software, and devices.
Pick out professional, but very comfortable attire, as you will be on your feet for 2-8 hours. Allow enough room in your suitcase for bringing back more than you take. This includes literature, freebies, and product samples. Some exhibitors provide bags, but come prepared by bringing a comfortable carryall for all that literature.
10. Promote, Promote, Promote!
Get the word out that you're attending the trade show by inviting your colleagues, clients, customers, and suppliers. Be sure you include all the details and a link to the registration page.
- Add an announcement to: your E-mail Signature, Invoices, Press Releases
- Create buzz! on your; website, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Blog, and Email newsletters.
- Connect with the Show! Don’t forget to follow WASTECON®'s twitter and LinkedIn.
Next up, follow these 10 Tips to Maximize Your Time at WASTECON, and you'll be confident in knowing that the time your time spent there is worthwhile.
Valley Box is a premiere industrial-grade packaging company protecting manufacturer's products inside custom wood crates and made-to-order material handling equipment since 1965.
Valley Box packaging experts develop specialized solutions for trade show crates which require additional planning to design the interior so that display components can be conveniently removed and loaded on location, while maintaining proper protection during transit. Valley Box helps you maximize your trade show display investment by incorporating protective details such as; foam or carpet lined surfaces, metal edged corners, vibrant painted exteriors, loading ramps, pedestals on casters and more.