If you want to rub shoulders with the movers and shakers in your industry, then attending a trade show is just the thing for you. At a typical trade show, you will have an opportunity to come across people you normally wouldn’t, since everyone involved in the industry will be there. Such shows normally last for 2 or 3 days (unless it’s Vegas then it’s a “crap” shoot). 😉

However, if you decide to attend a trade show which is out of town let alone a different country, you will have to spend a couple of days there, so it may seem like an expensive little adventure. That doesn’t mean that you should change your plans, you just need a good guide on how to get the most out of the show, so I will make sure to provide you with some useful tips!

1. Make a good choice

First of all, you need to be certain that you have chosen the right trade show to suit your needs. The most important thing to do before choosing is to check the show’s website in order to find out which companies will attend, check their Facebook page or newsletters to gauge the relevancy of the show.

2. Register ahead

Different shows offer different pricing and policies. If you do your research right, you can possibly save some money by registering in advance. There are some shows which exclusively cater to experts and qualified buyers, while there are some that will only require your online registration.

Moreover, if you register ahead, not only that you will save money, but you might also get an opportunity to schedule appointments with some companies and yes parties you can benefit from. Shows such as the Affiliate Summit and AWA and AWE tend to sell out so be sure to register well in advance.

3. Choose the right accommodation

It is advisable to stay at the hotel that is associated with the show you are attending, even though the prices may be higher than in other accommodations, because you will get a chance to run into many of the attendees there and you never know when you may run into your next big affiliate or advertiser. This is a great chance to make some acquaintances and potential business deals.

4. Stick to your plan

Attending any kind of show without having a precise plan is a bad idea because you will miss out on so many things. You need to determine what your goals are and stick to them. Since these shows are usually huge, the first thing you need to do as soon as you arrive is to get a map and familiarize yourself with the attendee list and their location.
You should mark the booths that are your priority and visit them first. Afterwards, if you have any time left that is, you can freely explore whoever else is there.

5. Carry your business cards with you

When it comes to such events, you never know when you are going to run into someone important. That is why you should always carry your business cards wherever you go. Moreover, it would be a good idea to make copies of your sell sheets and bring them as well. This is one of my biggest peeves – people who run out of cards on the first day, when in actuality they probably just forgot them.

6. Approach booths at the right time

At trade shows, timing is everything. If you pay a visit to a booth that is overcrowded, you won’t get a chance to interact with the right people. To avoid wasting your time and waiting in lines, it is recommended to visit booths on the second day. However, never wait for the last day because the majority of the companies may be already gone by then.

To sum up, attending trade shows can give you a lot of lucrative business opportunities, so make sure you follow my guidelines and stick to your plan to get the most out of them!