Can we be honest here? I think you would agree most of us in the industry have a love-hate relationship with trade shows. On one hand, it's the perfect opportunity to connect with your favourite suppliers or representatives, see what's trending for the season, check out your competitors and write orders on the spot while taking advantage of show specials. On the flipside, it's long days, minimal sleep and swollen feet. But there is light at the end of the tunnel! Here are a few tried and true tricks to help you get through, or (gasp!) even enjoy the shows you're attending this season.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
This is super important. Book appointments, map out your route, set daily goals. It's easy to get side-tracked while at the show, and you don't want to be rushing to all your favourite suppliers on the last day. Contact any companies you plan on writing significant POs with, giving the sales team a chance to put things together for you in advance, saving you precious time at the show.
Those thin little carpets they put on the concrete floor of the convention centre do literally nothing. If you can, wear trainers. If not, invest in some really good insoles for your shoes and pack some comfortable slip ons for after the show to relieve your feet.
These unisex Adidas running shoes are chic and comfortable
A GREAT BAG
These five simple essentials packed in your bag will make the day infinitely more enjoyable: reusable water bottle, lip balm, hand sanitizer, tissues, and gum (or mints). Choose a bag that is comfortable to wear, can hold your essentials and still have space for all the business cards and catalogues you'll pick up.
PRO-TIP: Ask sales reps to email you catalogues on the spot or if they have them on USB sticks saving you from carrying them around all day.
TREAT YOURSELF TO LUNCH
Convention centres have horrible food, this is just a fact of life. The lines are long, the food is terrible and almost always exorbitantly expensive. Instead, block out an hour to step outside the venue and grab lunch at a little cafe or restaurant. The food will be infinitely better, you'll get a little break to clear your head and you'll be able to get a coffee that doesn't taste like dishwater. Win, win, win.
If you're staying overnight, pamper yourself in the hotel. Order room service, do a face mask, slip into your favourite pyjamas and get an early night. Put the catalogues and pricelists away and watch a movie to wind down. Taking some time to yourself will help you feel less stressed and overwhelmed, which will help you make better buying decisions in the morning.
What are your trade show survival tips? Share them in the comments below!