Are you a young professional gearing up for your first Fresh Summit Tradeshow experience? I was in your shoes just a few short years ago, and I’ve learned a LOT that I’d love to pass along to my fellow young professionals. With these tips, you can optimize your experience at trade shows like Fresh Summit. So whether you are a first timer or have previously attended expos and you just want to improve your approach, here are my golden rules for tradeshow success!
- Arrive with a Plan
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
If you don’t know what your company’s approach is to the show, what meetings you’re expected to attend, and what your overall strategy is, ask! Make sure you are clear on how you are contributing to the expo’s success on behalf of your company. If you don’t have a detailed scheduled that you share with your team, take a look at our (not so) best kept tradeshow secret. My best advice for you as a young professional is to attend as many educational and networking events as your schedule will allow.
- Set Goals
What does success look like?
Make sure to schedule some time with your manager ahead of time to discuss what your company wants to achieve at the show so you can determine ways to contribute. I recommend setting personal goals for yourself, informing your manager of those goals, and sticking to them! Ex: You will give away 30 business cards by the end of the show. You will connect with at least 3 – 5 customers/prospects on the show floor that you can follow up with after the show.
- Identify Targets/Prospects
Who can you connect with?
I recommend downloading the attendee list for the expo and highlighting prospects that you’d like to connect with. Now is this time to start reaching out to set meetings – be advised that with all the parties and happy hours, your customer’s schedules will fill up fast! Make sure you lock in meetings and meals with key prospects sooner rather than later.
- Define a Strategy
Plan your work and work your plan.
Using your company’s overall goals as a sounding board, work with your team traveling to the show to define a strategy that will help you achieve your goals. Make sure you understand how to talk about/sell your business before you arrive. As a young professional, I recommend you ensure you know your role in the booth or on the show floor. Talk to your manager about how you can approach pre-show communications with customers and post-show follow up. Social media is also a helpful tool to connect to potential customers during the tradeshow. Consider using Twitter and Instagram during the show to connect with industry colleagues and virtually network using the official #FreshSummit hashtag. It’s also a great idea to add the people you meet as LinkedIn connections!
Are you getting excited yet? The last piece of advice I will leave you with is something you’ve heard before, but can’t be emphasized enough: Ask thoughtful questions. You will find that the produce industry is a very personable group, despite its size. As you meet new people at the show, asking them thoughtful questions about their business will be a great way to guarantee they remember your face at the next produce event!