Tradeshows, industry fairs, and professional seminars are essential for woodworkers to gain profitable insights on where our industry is going and what the latest technologies will be needed to meet the challenges. With our longer times spent in setting up booths and navigating halls, exhibitors like SNX notice tips that might make the experience you attendees have better and more pleasant. Here are 8 things we think all of you should be aware of.
- Those of you who arrive at a show without a plan of battle are often wasting your time. Show floors are nothing but distracting places. Exhibitors try their hardest to lure people with lights, contests and other gimmicks. You need to be ready and to stay on target. Create a two-column list of things you MUST see and another column for things you’d LIKE to see. Then stick to it until they’re all checked off. After that, wander and enjoy all you like. Spare yourself from the realization while boarding the flight home that you forgot to do some of the very things you arrived to accomplish.
- Don’t follow the herd, make your own path. Every show has a floorplan available from someone (show sponsor, magazines, etc.). It’s more than just a handy visual way to find the exhibitors you’re interested in. Use a floor plan to minimize the time your feet get used. Line of sight booth locating is hard to do once you’re down in the brightly lit fabric canyons of tradeshow booths. Get to know the aisle/booth numbering system and use it to prevent the annoyance of fruitless laps around the wrong location.
- Leave your business cards at home, please. Nowadays, exhibitors have high-tech badge scanners that can get your information moving to you quickly, even instantly. A business card is certainly a more genteel way of presenting yourself, but it’s likely that in all the hub-bub of a show, it’ll probably just get lost in some booth person’s computer bag. Likewise, cryptic notes scribbled on the back of a business card are much less useful than our ability to type in your notes directly into the scanner’s system.
- Skip around the bulge. Attendees typically enter a tradeshow hall in the opening hours as a tight bunch and then methodically move through the building in a slightly more diffuse manner. You don’t even know you’re doing it. Booths farther in the hall are nearly empty during these early hours till the crowd ambles down their way. We actually watch it coming. Next time, start your day visiting the booths farther from the front door first. You’ll get more complete access and much more personal attention in your visit.
- Eat first, eat small, eat often. Don’t wait till noon to eat lunch. You’ll find long lines and fewer open tables if you eat “when you’re supposed to.” Instead, grab lunch at 11. When you do eat, go for smaller meals. Stuffing yourself only leads to sleepiness trudging along out there on the show floor. And don’t be afraid to stop throughout the day to nibble on healthy snacks. Eight hours of walking on carpeted concrete when you’re used to riding a comfy desk at work can take a toll on your energy level, just when you might need it most.
- Exhibitors hate handing out brochures and flyers. Why? Well, to be honest, we know many folks use them to assist in comparing similar products, then they throw them out. Ouch for exhibitor’s budgets. Please don’t be offended when many of us would rather send you an email with a PDF flyer. It’s our way of controlling some marketing costs.
- When the show’s over, it’s over. OK, this is a courtesy thing. A few attendees like to wait until the show closes at the end of the day before they drop by to conduct business. They know the hall will be quieter and there’ll be less chance of interruptions. True. Some believe they can also negotiate a better price leveraging the time pressure for us to vacate our booth for the day. What they might now know is that our exhibiting day may not actually be over. We may need to clean and resupply our machinery, test potential customer programs, attend scheduled dinner meetings by our vendors, and (mostly) wanting to go and soak our feet. No one minds a few minutes of good discussion or problem-solving after-hours, but please respect our need to maximize the hours on both ends of our show day. If you want quality time with us, drop by earlier and we’ll set-up a meeting place elsewhere with you. Oftentimes, our treat.
That’s only a few things. We have more tips that we'll share in future posts.
SNX enjoys tradeshow participation. We get to meet and greet with so many of our customers, friends, and new acquaintances in one place. We hope these 8 tips can help you get the most out of your next tradeshow. We’ll see you there!