10 tips to visit a trade show efficiently

Tomorow, I will fly to “Madrid” to visit the promotional product trade fair: EXPORECLAM with my boss…
Yesterday, I asked DOC LOGO what would be its10 tips to visit efficiently a promotional product trade fair.

This is what he answered: DOC LOGO’S TIPS

The first important point is to distinguish the Big International Fair and the smallest Local Fair. Of course, you will not have to prepare yourself the same way according to the size of the fair :

* In a National Fair , 1 day is fair enough to visit: you have time to see everything, without getting lost, you can meet your providers, talk with some clients, etc. No need to be well prepared for it…

* In Big International trade shows like the PSI in Dusseldorf, the famous Vegas PPAI, or even bigger, the Hong Kong or Canton Fair; things are quite different. To visit such fairs, you have to stay minimum 3 days, and it’s still short: you’ll never have time to see it all even if you go full speed…It’s impossible to turn back to talk to and exhibitor that is finally available for you…

So Here are my 10 TIPS to Mathilde:

Manage things in order to get your pass ready in advance, not to lose 1 hour in the queue. Equip yourself with a map and have a look at the organization of Halls and decide of your run. This is important mainly for Big fairs, when you must tick the Halls you already visited… Small Tip: Try not to start your run where all others will start, go in the opposite direction!! you won’t be jostled by the crowd and exhibitors will have time to spare you. If necessary, tick the stands you want to go back at the end of the day.

No way!! You’d better not wear your new heel shoes Mathilde!
They are gorgeous, but they will become a torture after a while.
Visiting a fair means walking, walking…and walking a little bit more…

Try to « read» an exhibitor’s stand: it reflect its company, its way of working and of course its way to honour orders… The size of the stand is not important, you can find THE product that will make your turnover of the following year…

Bring with you enough business cards, even if in some fairs it exist system to scan passes, but in my opinion, the fact of giving your card shows your intention to do business with this person, better than if he see your name on a list. Little TIP: In Asian fairs, Don’t forget to take the business card you are given with two hands and take time to read it before placing it carefully in your briefcase. This shows them you are really interested in working with them.

Get dressed with correctness and try to adapt the fair you’re going to! Actually, your go there as a buyer, but your clothing reflect a certain image of your company. Customs are different depending on the country:Visitors from USA always wear jeans and tennis, Japanese with their black strict suit…it’s rather funny to ty to guess which country a person comes from according to its garments … the French wears its eternal checkered shirt, the Portuguese trying to make himself taller when they walk next to the blond tall Nordic people, and of course, the Itaaalian with the class that characterizes them….

On an International fair, it’s indispensable to arrange an interview with your providers.
Try to do it in function of the fairs’ map…PLANNING is the key word not to loose time and energy…

A new exhibitors looks interesting? Take some time to get and know him, know its products, and don’t forget to have him interested in your company! After the fair, he will go back home with hundreds of new contacts and business cards to which he will have added notation depending on the interest…So make sure he wrote a nice note on you and your company if you want him to deal with you quickly and well.

You’ll probably know other visitors, so have a coffee with them at mid-term, exchanges opinions and discoveries. Do not ignore this advise! They will never see the same things like you did, but above all, they won’t see them the same way!

Bring with you a note-pad and a pocket stapler.
Staple some notes together with the business cards of exhibitors that worth an immediate follow up next to the fair. Ok, it’s not what we can call modern and some will prefer their Blackberry but at least my notepad will not have a battery failure at the end of the day.

My last tip but not least, locate the toilets , especially if your are accompanied by a woman who will most probably want to pee when you are exactly on the opposite part of the hall..

If you want to visit other trade shows: here is the list of world promotional products trade fairs.

¡¡Enjoy the trade show!!