Trade shows in the beginning are an exhilaration rush, but quickly turn into drudgery for inexperienced exhibitors. Being properly prepared for the trade show floor will keep the trade show experience fun and help you stay attentive in your booth. A trade show exhibiting requires mental and physical stamina. Consider the physical stress of standing for long periods of time in one location. This is not typical for most sales staff. Long hours of dealing with people, the trade show environment, and the change in daily active wears at an individual. Here are some tips to help make your trade show booth experience more enjoyable and successful.
- Shoes – Don’t wear new shoes to a trade show. Purchase a good pair of shoes that have solid arch support and are comfortable. Purchase shoes weeks in advance and break them in prior to the show. Sore feet are a major problem on a trade show floor. Improper shoes will lead to leg and back fatigue, which will lead to an irritable disposition. This is not the image to project to potential customers.
- Clothing – Select sensible and comfortable clothing that you have worn previously. New clothes can be scratchy or make you feel uncomfortable. Dress in layers if possible. Typically, the trade show floor is cool in the morning and by late afternoon excessively warm.
- Low Energy – Most employees take a lunch break, but a trade show booth requires staffing the entire day. Arrange for lunch breaks. Don’t bring food to your booth. Most trade show managers have a no eating in booth clause, which is outlined in your registration contract. Leave the booth and get food. The break, along with the food will revitalize and give you the energy to finish the day off strong.
- Bring Water – Make sure you bring water to keep yourself hydrated. Convention facilities are not like a house, they don’t have a humidifier to help keep the air clean and moist. The dry air along with continuous explaining your company’s products and services can weaken your voice.
- Partying the Night Before – If you are visiting a city like Toronto or Montréal it is very tempting to say out all night and party. What you do the night before will come back and haunted you the very next day. Plan your event prior to the trade show. Eliminating impromptu partying will minimize hangovers and prepare you both mentally and physically for the next day.
- Booth Survival Kit – Aspirin, Eye Drops, Band-Aids and Tums can keep the staff functioning at 100%. Trade show lights, noise and physical stress can cause headaches. Many people complain of eye irritation from the dust in the air, carpeting fibers and allergies. Eye drops can refresh and soothe weary eyes and give the added relief to both contact and no-contact wears. It never fails somebody will require a Band-Aid or safety pin so it’s best to have them on hand. Choose your favorite anti-acid because trade show cafeterias are not fine dining cuisine.
- Take a Break – Breaks are leaving the booth to visit other vendors. The change in scenery along with movement will increase blood flow to the body and bring the energy level up.
- Breath Mints – Hours of talking, drinking water, and trade show food can cause halitosis. Bring enough for the entire sales team. The minty flavor along with the sugar will boost your energy level.
Boredom/Slowdowns – Every trade show traffic pattern has peaks and valleys. When booth traffic slows, networking with other exhibitors should become a priority. At this time, other vendors are looking to do something and are vulnerable to a sales pitch. Be respectful and listen to their pitch as intensively as they listen to yours.