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Tips to get the most out of your tradeshow attendance

Time is a prium at a tradeshow so it’s well worth the time and effort to set some goals of what you would like to achieve while you are there and what you hope to go home with:
– If planning to place orders at the show, be very clear on your inventory needs because efficient purchasing will save money by being able to take advantage of tradeshow specials and offers. Clearly defining your inventory needs before the show will also help you stay within budget.
– Make a list of the products, equipment and services you need to research and investigate whilst at the tradeshow.
– If you’re planning on making purchases at the tradeshow set your budget before walking through the door. Also track any orders you’ve placed and make sure you have enquired about any freight charges and delivery timelines so you’ll stay within budget.
– Make a list of the exhibitors you want to see. Even if you aren’t into equipment, for example, make sure you check out what is new. If a few staff from your practice are going, you can divvy up the responsibilities.
– Set appointments with exhibitors so you both allocate adequate time to cover off all your discussion points and queries.
– Set appointments with suppliers you don’t usually see. This is the time to take advantage of new products and to explore different solutions and thinking of those you don?t ordinarily deal with.
When choosing education sessions, take some time to review which topics you want to learn about. Take at least one session that is out of your comfort zone, particularly in marketing or business planning.
Also plan on attending social events during tradeshows as they are an ideal opportunity to network and mix with familiar and new faces, the advantages of expanding your network of peers needs no further explanation!
Here’s the rub with exhibitors, when they go to a tradeshow if there’s not any traffic to their booth, they won’t return in later years to exhibit. Exhibitor costs include booth space, freight, hotel and food, giveaways and promotions, and travel costs. Exhibitor payments fund the education program, exhibition and exhibition events. So if the organising body does not make money from exhibitors, the optical industry ends up losing out. Without exhibitor support in the future it will cost us all more to attend a tradeshow and cost us more to take part in conference programs for our CPD points.
Therefore, it’s common sense to be courteous with all exhibitors, don’t waste their time if you’re not interested in their products/services, thank th for attending the tradeshow and be honest if you can’t buy for another six months.

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