The 2014 Vermont Business Expo is a great opportunity for business to business networking and making connections. Maximizing your time is important at any trade show, but with companies from over 20 different industries exhibiting this year, the Vermont Business Expo is a place where prioritizing your time is critical.
I’ve experienced many trade shows, both as an exhibitor and an attendee. Here are my best tips for 2014 Vermont Business Expo attendees to help you make the most of your time at the event:
Set your goals BEFORE you get to the show. Check out the list of all Vermont Business Expo exhibitors and know ahead of time which ones are top on your list. Write down your questions for each business so you make the most of your time at each booth.
Keep your badge in plain sight and always introduce yourself to the exhibitor. The initial contact can sometimes be awkward (for both exhibitor and attendee), so break the ice by introducing yourself.
Wear comfortable shoes and business casual clothing. Remember, you are representing your company and first impressions last forever! Typically the trade show venue is cold, so even though it is really warm outside, dress for the indoor temperatures.
Bring a notebook and pen and make sure to bring plenty of business cards—and then double that amount. You will be pleasantly surprised by how many opportunities there are to hand out your cards.
Have the proper bag. At registration for the Vermont Business Expo, you will most likely be handed a bag intended to store the swag and literature you pick up from booths. This may or may not be comfortable. If you have a bag that you know works well for you, by all means bring it along! This is a long day and you don’t want to have to leave early because your bag is not performing for you.
Don’t hang out too long at any one booth. The goal is to get a quick snapshot of what is being offered and then follow up after the show. Make appointments for a later date while you’re still at the show so you don’t have as much follow up on when you’re back in the office. Certainly don’t engage in a conversation with a company that you have no interest in doing business with.
On the other hand, feel free to stop and ask questions at booths that do interest you even if they were not on your original list. Some companies may surprise you, so ask questions . . . that’s what you are there for.
Whatever you do . . . don’t take every piece of swag available to you! Your arms will not be pleased with you, and let’s face it: you probably cannot use the service of EVERY vendor you encounter. Take only what you need from the companies that interest you. Have them send you literature via mail or e-mail when appropriate. Save the bag for items that you can’t get at a later time.
Bring water and healthy snacks. The day is a long one and if your brain is not functioning at full capacity, you won’t be able to maximize your time at the show.
Attend seminars, classes and networking events. These are your best opportunities for networking. Also – introduce yourself to other attendees. They are just like you and can be some of your greatest connections.
Stay focused and have fun at the expo!
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