How to Make the Most of Your Trade Show Experience

Trade shows are a highlight for many of us. They give us an opportunity to network with our peers, receive vital education, and get great deals on products. But how do you ensure that you get the most out of your experience? After all, you’re spending your valuable time and money to attend. We’ve got some tips that will allow you to get the most out of your trade show experience.

The biggest piece of advice we can give is plan, plan, and plan some more. Here are some things to think about ahead of show time. 

  1. Divide and conquer education. Take a look at the show at a glance ahead of time. Figure out who on your team is going to go to which sessions if there are sessions running concurrently. Take good notes so you can share with your team. The training offered at shows is super valuable and you can easily go back to your store and train your staff on new ideas if you take good notes.

  2. Locate must-see booths. While all booths are must-see booths, there are oftentimes deals you’re already aware of that you know you need to get placed. Make sure you have an idea of where those booths are going to be located. Many manufacturers will send emails ahead of time with their show deals and booth numbers, so be on the lookout for those.

  3. Arrange special meetings. Trade shows are a great opportunity to schedule meetings with people that you wouldn’t normally see in your stores. Reach out to your sales reps and see if their bosses will be attending the shows. Find out if there are any meet and greets with any of their national educators, and make sure you know when those will take place.

  4. Manage your time so you can network with others. While getting the most out of the show floor is important, trade shows offer a unique opportunity to network with your peers who will share good ideas to take back to your store.  At SENPA we believe the networking opportunity is not only with the exhibitors but with fellow retailers and our SENPA and SOHO Events offer that! Take the time to go to networking events, retail roundtables, and slow down to chat with others as you see them. You just might find the perfect idea that could change the trajectory of your business through a simple conversation. 

What To Do After The Show

After the show, make sure you gather with the decision makers on your team. Take intentional time to look through all of the information you received at the show. Between the new lines you will find, to the new products with lines you already carry, it’s important to evaluate all the things you got at the show. Not to mention all of the education you will need to decipher through! Plan on taking several hours to go through all the information you received.

With all of the information you receive, develop a game plan for future orders, rearrange products on your shelves and identify new products, and remember training your staff is key too. 

Trade shows can feel overwhelming with the amount of knowledge you receive in such a short period of time. By being intentional after the show you can ensure that the good ideas you received at the show can be implemented effectively.