With trade show season gearing up, we know a lot of you out there are getting ready to attend a show in your area. We want you to get the most out of your next trade show. This starts with having a clear strategy in mind. Knowing what you need to accomplish before, during, and after the show is your best step toward success!
Before the show:
Having a strategy is all about creating a plan. As a self-storage owner, you may become inundated with information if you are not prepared. To get the most out of your visit, first, make sure you know what vendors and speakers are attending. By reviewing the trade show schedule ahead of time you can make a list of the goals you plan to achieve. Are you looking for new Management Software, Reservation Lead Generators, Security Gate Companies? Have a list of your ‘must see’ booths and ‘want to see’ booths. Be prepared for your visit by always having useful questions to ask, it’s also an appropriate time to address concerns and any objections you might have. Once you’ve decided who you need to see, get a map of the trade show floor and prioritize your plan of action by choosing the best route. Additionally, it is helpful to bring a pad of paper or something to record vendor names, products, contact information, and of course, any follow-up notes you’ll want to remember after the show.
During the show:
While walking through the trade show floor, be particular, don’t just take every brochure or handout that is offered to you, and definitely don’t be shy about passing by booths that have no interest to you. It makes sense to collect only the information that is of importance to you and your facility. It’s OK to say “No thank you.” Keep your eyes open for networking opportunities; trade shows can actually be one of the best chances to gather information about what your competitors are doing. Many times these shows will be an indicator of what’s coming or happening right now in the industry – new product and program releases, special packages, and new marketing resources. Attend the extra events and seminars that are applicable to you and always be social – hand out those business cards you remembered to bring with you.
After the show:
Take some time to organize the information you’ve gathered and made a note of any booths/companies that you thought were particularly effective. Be sure to follow up with new contacts and vendors after the show and plan out how you are going to implement the new information gathered. It’s important to process the day’s events while the information is still fresh in your mind. Having a clear strategy will make sure that the time you spend at the trade show is a worth-while investment.
Toni Colasso is a Sales and Marketing Coordinator. She has done marketing in many different industries including retail and self-storage.