Earlier this year, we wrote a blog post detailing all the prep work that goes into attending a trade show. We received such great feedback from our readers (including the sweetest phone calls telling us how the post helped you guys prep!) that we figured we could follow up with an equally useful post. Read on to discover what to expect when exhibiting at a trade show, as well as our tips for a successful show! We’ll be basing our tips off of our recent trip to Indie Beauty Expo NY.
Have a set-up to-do list prepped in advance
Set-up usually begins the morning of a show. We were given 8 hours to set up at IBE NY, but only needed 1.5, as we had a list of all of to-do’s prepped beforehand. Trust us, it’s much easier and way faster to have a checklist handy than to just wing it! We keep a running checklist from all the trade shows we’ve attended, which has helped us pack and set up more efficiently!
By planning well in advance, we were able to fit all of our booth essentials and decorations in two luggages!
Prep food and drink
You’ll be surprised that many shows require you to bring your own water! Make sure you bring a few bottles to stay hydrated. We also keep protein bars handy for those times we are too busy to grab a meal.
Take it from us, heels are a no-go (my feet are still hurting as I write this!). Also, bring an extra sweater, as trade show halls tend to crank up the air conditioning.
Heels may be cute, but they definitely don’t feel so cute after standing for 8+ hours!
Refine your pitch
Get your pitch down to 2-3 sentences. Some buyers will be in a mad rush, so practice practice practice! Get your main selling points in your pitch, including 1-2 key differentiators and your retail price point. Always ask for their contact information at the end!
Keep detailed notes
Take photos of the business cards you receive, and write notes about each contact. We personally use a shared iCloud note to remember useful notes from our conversations. Some things we jot down are which (if any) samples we gave, which products the buyers were interested in, and anything else that they expressed interest in.
Really listen to the buyers, as they usually reveal information about what works/doesn’t work for them. Ask them questions about their product assortment price range, competitive offerings, etc., and then cater your product explanations based on their needs.
Take advantage of the lulls
Buyers, press, and influencers tend to come in waves, so definitely take advantage of down-time when it’s available to run to the restroom and grab a quick bite!
So you’ve made a good impression on the buyers, what now? Make sure you follow up with a thank you email in the week following the show (ideally within the first 3 days) so they can keep you top of mind! This is where your notes come in handy, as you can reference things you talked about to jog their memory.
And there you have it, our 8 tips for a successful trade show! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!