Here, in ascending order, are almost two handfuls of tips guaranteed to make your ExpoCam visit more fun and profitable.
10. Come prepared with paper, pen, and camera. Booth personnel don’t want to lend you their pens or memo pads unless you’re doing business with them. And a recording device could be your best ally if you want to share intel with the folks back home
9. If you’re at all considering a big-item purchase, time it to coincide with the show. You’ll be a hero if you buy one of the floor items; the seller might use the deal to promote your operation and there’s a chance he’ll cut you slack because you’ve saved him the cost of getting the merchandise home again.
8: Footwear. Women know from birth that high heels are a trade show attendee’s worst enemy. Bring two pairs of comfortable shoes. Sometimes switching footwear on day two can help tired feet. And don’t — as one colleague we know of did — choose a truck show to break in a new pair of loafers.
7. Plan your attack well before the show. Find the most important exhibitors you want to see. Write down their booth numbers and plan your route on the map to see them. Shows can get really busy. If you are a serious buyer, call the company before the show and book an appointment with the person you want to see at the show. You’ll save time trying to find them and you know they will be available when you get there.
6. Use the booth personnel. Instead of trying to spot the name badge of someone you are trying to see, ask the booth greeter. They often have staffing schedules for the booth and can help you find the best person to see. Also, don’t be timid. Sometimes you’ll see exhibitors talking to one another. Go introduce yourself. They want to talk to you.
5. Bring ChapStick or lip balm. Trade show halls are very dry and your lips will thank you.
4. Drink plenty of water and bring headache medicine with you just in case. Same reason as above and it also helps if you had a little too much fun the night before.
3. Pick up a bag to carry all your loot. Put smaller bags inside the big one.
2. Start back to front. If you get to the show when it first opens, go directly to the farthest booth you want to see. You will avoid the crowds.
1. And your best shot? Business cards. You will pick up lots of them and then a week after the show you’re liable to sift through them and wonder ‘who the heck was this?’ After somebody gives you a card, make a little note on it, anything that will remind you of the encounter. Do this after you leave the booth but before your next meeting. And be careful. Some cultures consider it an insult if you write on their business card.
(N.B. This story has been amended since it was first posted.–The Ed.)