Part 2: How to Be a Tradeshow Rock Star


For most B2B markets, tradeshows are an obvious business investment. Similarly, (but in a league of its own) our industry treats tradeshows as an essential marketing medium. And while most of us know the ropes of tradeshow etiquette, some tangible advice on acing an upcoming promotional products industry event never hurt anyone. 

Now that we’ve talked about how to prepare for a tradeshow, let’s switch gears and tackle the main part of the game – what to do during a tradeshow.

Follow a strategy

With a vibrant bustle of exhibits and an omnipresent chatter of colleagues, it’s easy to get overwhelmed at a tradeshow. Attention spans are even harder to manage when everything around you seems novel and deserving of your time. Before you know it, you’re racking up miles on your Fitbit, and somehow leaving each exhibit empty-handed.

One sure way to conquer the chaos is to have a visual guide in place that you can keep track of as you make your way down the show floor. In the previous post, we mentioned using a personalized walk list to better navigate the supplier lines. You can then use that same list to check off each visited vendor and jot down a few points about your interaction.

Take advantage of SAGE Mobile, to navigate any promotional products tradeshow like a professional.  This app’s convenience is unrivaled, simply because it’s made for the industry, by the industry itself. Best of all, you can access the SAGE Mobile Tradeshow Planner for free at all industry shows, even if you’re not a SAGE subscriber!


Get social

Times are a-changin’, and social media is finding its way into the core of the promotional products industry.  As a matter of fact, tradeshows set the perfect scene for companies to get their name out there and connect with potential clients. Don’t miss the opportunity to jump on the buzz wagon by following exclusive hashtags and tweeting about your event experience!

Here are some noteworthy networks to explore:

Twitter Notorious for up-to-the-minute updates, this is one platform you want to keep your eye on. To get the most out of your tradeshow visit, see if the show you’re planning on attending has a hashtag you can follow.

Instagram – A picture is worth a thousand words, and with a visual channel like Instagram you can post the photos you take at the show to promote your promotional products business to anyone in attendance.

Facebook – Most companies use Facebook to advocate attendance to their upcoming tradeshow. This offers a great opportunity for you to scout for show discounts or special announcements. So type in a show name and see what you can get your hands on.

Take time to learn

Tradeshows are a great investment of your time. Not only do they spark the fuse of inspiration, but most shows also offer on-site education that is as relevant as ever to the promotional products industry. As you organize your show agenda, make sure to note any education sessions that can aid in the growth of your business. For a quick reference, you can use your SAGE Mobile app to easily locate the session schedule for any industry tradeshow. 

Pro Tip: Some shows offer certification opportunities as part of their educational program. So, keep an eye out for a chance to get accredited as an expert in the industry.

Ride the elevator

It’s important to know your elevator speech by heart, in case a prospect, or potential business partner walks up and asks you, “So what does your company do?” It’s especially relevant in a competitive setting, where one look around morphs all businesses into one. Differentiate yourself by sharing unique attributes about your business.

Are you a member of an industry association?

Do you offer a broad range of services?

What is the main focus for your company?

Position yourself as a professional in your field. Yes, you are surrounded by distributors that at first take operate in the same industry, region, and even manner. But they don’t do exactly what you do because no one knows how to run your business quite like you. It is unique and no one can take that away from you.

Have some fun!

Our industry is well-known for being a tightly knit community that’s quick to share experiences and help shoulder burdens. Treat each tradeshow as a chance to get out of your daily predicaments and use the time wisely to grow your business and have a ball!

Pro Tip:  If you have a burning question that keeps you up at night, don’t be afraid to bring in up in a welcoming circle of colleagues. Odds are, someone has already thought of it and came up with a solution to your woes. In doing so, you not only force yourself out of your comfort zone, but you also set yourself apart from the crowd, making people gravitate to your newfound honesty.

“Nobody is expert at everything. Ask questions.”

– Chris Anderson, 3D Robotics

And now, the best for last – check out what to do after your tradeshow experience. 

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