Check these planning items off your list before you head out to your next trade show.
1. Review the trade show guidelines and handbook so you have a clear understanding of what you need to have and do before you get to your show, and that you are in compliance with show regulations (such as using fire resistant booth materials.) If you have questions, contact the show staff for assistance. They may be able to offer special help, or give you resources to resolve any issues.
2. Structure any packages or promotions you will have at the show. Developing “packages” which make the buying process easier while providing retailers with a cohesive grouping of your work that will merchandise beautifully. Displays work well with this concept, and a filled display can be a great package to offer buyers ready to start out with your line, or to upgrade existing customers.
3. Have any show specials planned, to create a sense of urgency to buy at the trade show itself. Will you offer free shipping, a baker’s dozen for the price of 12, or another incentive?
4. Prepare to bring a production calendar to the show with you to stay completely organized as you write orders. Knowing your production capabilities, and scheduling orders so that you can fill them promptly is essential to building good relationships with your buyers and avoiding disappointment.
5. Plan your merchandising. Avoid an overly cluttered booth by choosing carefully, and allowing enough space for your collection to breathe. Display merchandise at eye level to maximize visual impact, and group items to highlight collections.
6. Attend webinars given by the show promoter if they are available. These may help with selling skills, understanding how to exhibit at a trade show more effectively, and answer questions. Professional education in any industry is important to staying current with everything from trends to technology, and webinars can help in this process.
7. Are you bringing assistants to help at the trade show? Make sure they are thoroughly trained and ready to interact with buyers. Every minute at a trade show counts, and you want to take advantage of each opportunity to write an order. Your booth assistants should understand your technique, be fluent in speaking about your line, know your terms, and be able to talk clearly and convincingly with buyers.