With show season in full swing, I am positive I am not the only one recovering from a bad case of jet lag and whose stress level is as high as the stack of business cards sitting on my desk. Though this is the case with every show I attend, I pick up new skills, nuances and practices that make our pre show, event and post show rituals run that much smoother. As I was on a plane heading to tradeshow #3 this month, I thought it was the perfect time to share some of these with you. What are some of your tricks of the trade? Organization is the key to success: With some many moving parts, it is inevitable to forget something. For me personally, it is usually the plug converter… and with my naturally frizzy hair, it is not good for anyone! Thankfully, after many shows, our team has adopted the to-do list, a labeler and back up’s for every ‘just in case’ scenario. By staying organized and properly labeling every moving part, it is the easiest way to set yourself up for success. Practice really does make perfect: Walk through every moving part of your show. No brainer, this is beneficial from an exhibitor standpoint. Walking through the set up and break down allows the basics of your exhibit to run much more smoothly. What you don’t think about as often is how this can also helpful from an attendee perspective. You never know who and where you will run into your next customer, so be prepared! This could be nailing down your one minute sales pitch or making sure you’re the expert on your product. Regardless, a show is a time to sell your product, your company and yourself. Plan of Attack: As Elisabeth mentioned in her article ‘Show Season is Upon Us!’, START EARLY! I know it is difficult to do in the midst of show season, but when you have invested time and money into a show as you have, you want to get the most bang for your buck. Most tradeshows provide a full attendee and exhibitor list prior to the start of the event. Do your homework and use this time to target individual companies for scheduled meetings and invitations to visit your booth! I am the first to tell you this step in tradeshow prep is monotonous, but by not skipping this step, you will find more foot traffic in your exhibit and more potential leads in your pocket. Where’s Waldo: Have that client you just haven’t been able to get ahold of? Tradeshows are an easy opportunity to pin down old potential leads and plan a strategic run in at your upcoming show. I find that these simple behaviors, such as personalized emails and phone calls, help customers realize their business truly is important to you! Besides, what gets someone’s attention more than a show discount? Set an Expectation: What do you want to get out of this event? Is it a stronger client relationship? Maybe it is finding new potential business? Or is it simply a strong sales representation? As a sales professional myself, if I don’t set a goal for myself I don’t know what I am working towards and how to measure each individual show’s success. Setting a standard with both your manager and tradeshow team ensures everyone is on board working for the same goal. At the Show: With every conversation, take notes. This sounds obvious, but more times than not, this practice is overlooked. Studies show that most trade show leads are never re-contacted or activated. Write bullet points about each contact and conversations for each card so you have a talking point to reference for follow up conversations. Don’t let these valuable leads go to waste. No Need to Rush: Post show recovery has been the most difficult part for me to learn. Like everyone, I am always eager to follow up with the new business leads I met at the show, but it is important to put your personal health first. Take time to recover! Remember, you are not the only one returning to mounds of work that built up while you were out of the office. Send a quick personalized email to touch base and thank individuals for their time. This gives you ample time to recover from travel and have more meaningful conversations once you have caught up.