Posted on 24, March, 2020
Last Modified on 24, March, 2020
From months away to minutes from leaving to pick-up the rental care or heading to the airport, there are a number of things you need to have crossed off your trade show checklist. Missing any of these items or key points could have a big impact on whether your trade show exhibit ends up being successful.
What is your objective of exhibiting at any trade show, specifically this show? Setting tangible goals lets you know if a trade show was successful. This includes how many leads, sales, investors or connections you make at a show.
Develop a message
This includes everything from your exhibit to your pitch or presentation from your staff. Decide what your graphics and message should be on your booth display and work on a sales pitch to match. Consider working on A/B message approaches and rehearse them.
Set your staff
Take plenty of time to map out how many staffers you will need at a show. At the least, you need enough to talk to visitors during the busiest times, going to meetings/presentations, and to build in breaks during the show.
Pick booth displays
This is a fairly obvious point on your checklist, but don’t wait long to get these designed and ordered. The sooner you pick them out and have them printed, the more time you have to make changes if necessary and give yourself time to ship without paying extra charges.
Pack appropriate clothing
Based on the schedule and industry of the trade show, pack accordingly. Business professional and business casual should be planned for no matter what, but for any special events like golf outings or cocktail mixers, you’ll also want to plan accordingly. And don’t forget comfortable shoes! Uncomfortable shoes could affect your performance exhibiting and trying to create connections or sales.
Check your swag
Decide what kinds of giveaways make sense for your budget, show, and industry. Whether you are giving away T-shirts, water bottles, key chains, decals or something larger, put together the list, get your items printed, and pack them away.
Promote your show presence
Announce to your current clients and show attendees that you will be at the show, where you will be located and a bit of a preview of what’s on your agenda. Use every medium you can to promote your exhibit: Email, social media and even snail-mail postcards. Whatever you use to reach out to potential visitors, make sure you include your booth number and location.
Have a tool/in-case-of box
It can be hard to plan for everything, but an emergency kit of things you don’t think you will need might end up saving you. Extra tape, zip-ties, rubber bands, pens, staplers, business cards, power/extension cords and other office materials might wind up being used more than you would think.
Something to track your budget
There are helpful apps to track spending on trade shows. But remind yourself to keep receipts and track spending for everything regarding your trade shows. That means everything from booking the show to displays, swag, and travel expenses.
Brown bag it, if you can
If the exhibition hall you are at has a concession stand, it’s probably expensive or maybe unhealthy. If you’re not out of town for a few days at a show, bring a lunch and try to pack high-energy items. Greasy fast food can be messy and could make you feel sluggish.
Put your follow-up plan into action
Part of your goal setting should include a follow-up plan for leads, sales and connections. Don't wait too long to execute it - check off that it’s ready to go as soon as the show is over.