Never Sit DownMy most sacred best practice when it comes to trade shows is to NEVER sit down. The first thing I do when I arrive at our designated booth, is send the chairs back to storage. The whole purpose of being at a trade show is engagement with prospects, current clients and industry colleagues. If I’m sitting behind the table with my laptop open checking email, facebook, LinkedIn, etc, I might as well be at a Starbucks. Trade shows are tiring. And incredibly valuable if you actually work for them. – Chris Nordyke, Consultant at Floodlight Consulting Group
Give Instead of TakeWhen you go to trade shows, you’re networking with people who might not need your services. Instead of focusing on selling yourself or your services, focus on educating and teaching people. We do a lot of give back. We have a big senior living area in our community and we’ve been teaching them about hurricane safety and homeowner preparation. We decided we wanted to take the approach of bringing value to people instead of selling to them, and that’s what we’ve prioritized at trade shows. It’s more about giving back instead of taking. – John Savine, Mitigation Manager at Graystone Restoration
Plan BeforehandIt’s important to consider how a trade show fits into your strategic plan. When you sit down and plan out the year, think about your needs, where you’re going to pull business from, and how you’re going to execute your strategy. I once went to a specific trade show looking for a new job management system and talked to people who were using different systems. It’s way more efficient because they’re all there, and it saves me from having to track down all these people and make phone calls. What I’ve found in this industry is that people truly want to help each other. Once you’re in it, we figure out that the more you help people, the more they help you too. Some of my strongest relationships in this industry are from going to trade shows. – Matt Hensley, General Manager of Kustom US
Find People Who Will Help You Meet Your GoalsThat first trade show I attended was Violand’s and it changed the whole trajectory of where Restore Rite is and what we’re doing. I received instruction, built connections, and when I came back, we pivoted and started going in a better direction. Before going to a trade show, have a plan in place of what you want to accomplish and find people who’ll help you meet your goals. Look at your current problems, go through the list of vendors, and then seek them out once you’re at the trade show. – Kinyon Martin, Founder of Restore Rite
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