Imagine it: You’ve found an industry that you want to break into, or you’re already working with and want to expand your reach in. Great news! They have a national, industry-wide trade show that many of the major players attend. A 3-day event where you can make contacts face-to-face sounds like a perfect way to do more with this group of prospects, but are you ready?

There are a lot of things to consider when preparing for a large trade show. The most basic steps are the logistics of the event itself. Is your booth space secured? Do you have a plan for staffing the event? Have travel and lodging arrangements been made? Make sure all of these bases are covered before anything else is done, you don’t want to show up without a booth to stand in!

Once you have everything secured for the event attendance, you should be preparing for the event by building traffic before the show. Some organizations provide a list of attendees before the show, or if you’ve attended an event in the past you should have your own contact list! Sending a simple ‘see you next week!’, or providing some incentive for attendees to stop at your booth always helps build that traffic, before you’ve even set foot at the venue.

You’ll also need to consider your presence at the event. Your display (throw, signage, sales literature, and handouts) should all be cohesive and on-brand. A banner should be a simple overview, with any literature being a complimentary deeper dive into what you offer attendees. It’s also good to have physical or electronic examples of your work. This can be actual products you produce or a scrolling PowerPoint showing some of what your company is capable of.

You also need to plan a method to collect the contact info of the attendees stopping by your booth. This can be a door prize, or an incentive you can mail or email out later, like more information about a specific product they are interested in. Once you have that info and you’re back at your home office, make sure you have a plan and are ready to follow up! Follow up can be a call, email, or direct mail. Just make sure you follow up in some way and stay in front of these contacts as time goes on following the event.

Congratulations, you’re ready for your trade show! Add a comment or contact us for your trade show checklist to make sure you have everything you need!

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