Trade shows are an excellent opportunity to make sales, build relationships and collect qualified leads. If you followed our tips for preparing for the trade show, then the next step is making sure you get the best return on investment from attending the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA). MHEDA is the only trade association dedicated solely to improving the proficiency of the independent material handling equipment distributor.
During the MHEDA trade show:
- Prevent Stress. Arrive early and have cash on hand for parking and food. Don’t forget your marketing packages from your vehicle, it could be a long way back to the parking garage from the exhibit hall.
- Check-in. Get your MHEDA badge from the registration area and trade show program guide, ask for a bag (or bring your own) to gather materials during your visit. If possible, request literature and samples be mailed instead of having to carry them with you.
- Map a Route. An updated show guide and floor plan will probably be provided when you arrive. Take some time to revise your plan, if necessary, in order to visit the booths you want to from your research. Make sure you look for last minute additions to the exhibitors and check them in the program guide.Decide which way to go when you walk into the hall and follow the aisles, keep your map handy to guide you.
- Social Posts. Tweeting during the show will help to maintain a relationship with other attendees as well as keep followers' attention, and give them an insider's perspective on products and events at the MHEDA trade show. Here are some tips to for your mid-show tweets. Don't forget to use the #MHEDA #hashtag.
- Catch your Breath. Take a break after a few hours to refresh, have a snack and get some fresh air. Visit the restroom to freshen up before you go back on the exhibit hall floor.
- Practice Good Manners. Make sure your badge is in plain sight while browsing trade show booths, wait your turn when waiting to speak to someone, do not cut in lines, be patient, smile, and always thank them for their time and tell them to "Have a good trade show".
- Takes Notes. Ask the exhibitor for information on their company and their business card. Ask for the name of the appropriate person to speak to after the trade show for your specific product or service (now you have 2 contacts). Have a pen and notebook ready for notes and use business cards to jot down information on the back.
- Bounce Early. Leave the show a little early to avoid long lines for buses and cabs.
- After Hours Events. Evaluate if any after hour parties are worth your time. Remember you are acting as an ambassador for your company... getting drunk at a trade show related event may reflect poorly not only on you, but your brand.
Major Don'ts at the MHEDA trade show
- Don't be afraid to introduce yourself to others.
- Don't linger too long at each booth.
- Don't stay in a conversation with a company in which you're not interested in doing business.
- Don't forget the details; shoes, hair, and accessories: people notice the details. Manicures are crucial, as you will be shaking hands hundreds of times during the show.
- Don't chew gum, use breath mints, no one wants to hear you smacking away.
- Don’t ask trite questions. Such as: "How are you doing today?" or "Are you enjoying the show?". Your opening line should engage them with something you specifically have to offer. “Hello, how’s it going” is not interesting or unique. Even just a simple “Are you interested in [thing you do]” is better, although still weak.
- Don’t just transmit, ask questions. Sure you want to pitch your stuff, but this is a fantastic opportunity for direct market research on your potential customers! Come up with 3-5 questions that you’re going to ask of people, then ask away. No need to carefully record the results — the big trends will be obvious and the rest is noise.
- Don’t sit. When you'd like to engage with conversations with others, stand. Sitting looks like you don’t want to be there. It’s uninviting. The head-height differential is psychologically off-putting.
Remember trade shows can be an incredibly effective, but they can also be a complete waste of time and money if you don't plan well enough in advance. Additionally, a trade show can be a waste of time if you don't use the momentum of the event to your advantage, read our 10 things you need to do After the MHEDA trade show.
Valley Box is a San Diego based industrial packaging company. We create custom material handling solutions which are perfect for assembly lines, warehouses, distribution centers, stock rooms and anywhere else that moving loads is required. Visit the Material Handling section of our website.