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Tricks of Trade Show Attendees (Get the Most Bang from Each Booth Visit)

March 26, 2013
In early April, the Mitch-Stuart team will be attending the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International Conference on Fundraising, always a great opportunity to see old friends and associates in the industry and make new ones. Often times attendees just…attend. Here are some ways to maximize a trade show visit so you come away with great business-building information and contacts. Hope to see you there.

Be a Hunter/Gatherer! Get a hold of the show directory and plot your path to make sure you visit booths that provide some combination of these three elements — education, entertainment and free stuff — but make sure it is meaningful to your company and not stuff for stuff’s sake. Only visit vendors whose products and services advance your own.

Namely, names Successful trade show attendees come away with a slew of names and email addresses. Use every opportunity to make a connection — as an attendee, every booth sponsor will want your contact information — but there are several other categories of trade show visitor such as media, or potential business partners that are very valid relationships to foster.

Time is NOT on your side Don’t let a booth rep squander your time. You can size up your needs (particularly if you did the advance work from the first tip) and politely extricate yourself from someone who cannot positively answer this question — “Does your product or service advance my own?”

Remember Trade Show 101 Dress comfortably! Hydrate! Don’t go to every soiree! And, importantly, document your visit — take cell phone photos of remarkable booths, take notes during meetings with useful contacts and attend smart talks and breakout sessions.

Bask in the Afterglow For five minutes, then follow up with your new friends! A quick note, an invitation to phone or Skype, don’t let anyone go un-contacted after the show. This is often the time when “real deals” are sealed.

Got any trade (show) secrets you’d like to share?