Small Business Tips: How to Get the Most from a Trade Show

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Learn from Direct Capital’s Trade Show Experts

Are you headed to your first trade show or to your 30th?  Either way, you probably know what to expect. But how often have you felt your time a trade show went by way too fast? Like you didn’t accomplish what you intended or didn’t come home confident you made the most of the opportunity?

Direct Capital is present at many trade shows every year (We’ll actually be attending the 2014 SGIA Expo October 22-24 and RFDC November 10-12 – both in Las Vegas. If you’ll be attending, stop by our booth!) and we’ve picked up some tricks along the way to ensure we get the most out of them. Our trade show regulars have shared their tips:

Matt Goyette, Vice President, Major Accounts: “Be prepared – make your pre-show calls and emails but bring cell numbers with you. Hunt down the folks you want to meet with at the show, texts work great.”

Rick Henderson, Vice President, Franchise: “Schedule meetings with key targets well in advance of the show and stay in regular contact, acknowledging the scheduled meet-up during the weeks leading up to the show. At the end of the day, the most important factor is having a compelling product that actually adds value.”

Jim Siederman, Business Development Manager: “The most important aspect to a successful trade show is preparation. It’s imperative to identify targets, set appointments, and have a game plan before arriving.”

Michael McCaffrey, Sr. Business Development Manager: “The best time to talk to people is before the show starts. Get in early. Vendors will be more receptive to talk to you before customers start coming to the booth. They’re not there to be solicited, they are there to sell. Be friendly, smile, say hi – try to strike up conversation. Once people stop, it’s easier to get them interested in your booth.”

More Tricks of the Trade Shows

The productivity gurus at have put together a similar list, trying to help their customers make the most out of their product at conferences. Combined with the tips from our trade show experts, you’ll have everything you need!

  1. Carry a notebook with you at all times. If anything important comes up – an important comment at an event or a potential customer’s information – you want to have it handy.
  2. Try to create a schedule for yourself. Make a list of the events and sessions you want to attend and plan accordingly.
  3. If you want to come home with information to pass on to your team, record audio and take pictures of the presentations you attend.
  4. Collect as many business cards as possible to keep your connections strong.
  5. After the show, take a step back and make a list of all the action items you want to take. Create reminders for who you want to follow up with and when.
  6. Share what you’ve learned. Use that audio, those photos, and the business cards you collected to showcase what you’ve gained from the show.

Take these tips with you to every trade show you attend and you will leave feeling inspired. To learn more about how Direct Capital can help you at your next trade show, read our latest blog article. Or, for more information on Direct Capital, visit our website today!


1 Comment

  1. These are great tips. If you are collecting business cards though, don’t miss the opportunity to distribute yours as well. Trade shows are a great place for networking.

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