Trade Show Kings and Queens
How to turn convention chaos into more money in your pocket and great food for your mind.
Anyone planning to attend a trade show knows the feeling of exhaustion that often comes right after. Rightfully, the ROI question also races through our minds. We find ourselves trying to justify the days spent attending sessions and wandering the maze of the expo floor, swag bag in hand.
Aside from the one or two useful giveaways we might land, we all know that the rest of our swag just ends up in the garage. So how about we collectively start saving huge amounts of time, effort, and ozone, by being very, very selective in the junk we pick up at the next event?
Advance preparation and careful thought are really all it takes to walk away from a trade show with your bottom line improved (yes, more dollars for you at the end of the year), relevant new ideas you can actually use, and maybe, just maybe, more energy.
Select information sessions carefully. Before you travel, take time to think of the key issues your business faces and the biggest opportunities you want to tackle. Writing these down will almost automatically lead you to pre-select fewer sessions. Those that are the most relevant to your business and can help you to address real business pain are the ones you’ll want to spend your valuable time at. Decide where you are most likely to obtain information you can actually apply to your business upon your return.
This type of thought also clears your mind from the noise and distraction of information overload and keeps you focused on your goal. Of course, information on topics of general interest can then be added to your calendar, if you have additional free time.
You’ve likely come across a group that decides to attend a session just because someone in their party wanted to. Then they all turn around and head over there like a herd. We’d all agree that is likely not the best way to spend one’s time. If we did have that much free time, maybe the entire trip wasn’t really worthwhile. “Was it worth it?”– a genuine question you need ask yourself after the next show is over. That question alone could put back (or keep) a lot more money in your pocket the following year.
In choosing your sessions, examine the speakers’ backgrounds carefully. Ask around if you need to. Who you listen to largely determines your level of success. Always listen to people who have what you want, have done what you are doing if their subject is specific to your industry, successfully, and the clincher is, can show it. There are many charismatic speakers who have never been as successful as they proclaim they can help you become and make their money selling to people books and consulting. Choose well.
Then there is the chaos of the expo floor. Before you board that plane, write down the services you subscribe to and purchase on a regular basis, and other services that you have been interested in. Then hit those vendor booth displays dead on, one after the other. Your mission is to i) identify deals that will save you money, and, ii) get tips on how you can better use your existing products, tools or technologies to become more efficient and profitable.
Zero in on vendors who have staying power and respectable brands. Those that care about customers and will likely be there for you when you need support. Not those driven by hidden corporate agendas, scandal or question marks popping up every now and then. These exist in virtually every industry.
The players you decide on will most likely have trade show specials that can save you good money. That’s one of the key objectives trade show kings and queens must set for themselves. Switch services if you must, sign up to new, better and cheaper ones, or simply unsubscribe from others you figure won’t need anymore. It’s all for the taking on the show floor when you focus your time on the right things for your business, talking to the right suppliers. The rest is a waste of time. Stuffed toys can be had anywhere for a few dollars, without having to stand up waiting for an hour, feet aching and all. In advance of your venture, take a look at the trade show floor plan, which most conventions today make available, and mark your destinations.
If you are in the real estate business, we hope to see you at the EXIT Realty convention in Nashville (Point2 booth #14), or at NAR in Anaheim (booth #255)
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