Part 3: How to Be a Tradeshow Rock Star


You travel for your promotional products business. You discover new products and learn about industry trends. You make connections and shake hands. Then you return home, get sucked into your usual routine, and are left with little to no recollection of what this past trip was about.

Does that ring a bell? We have a solid idea of what to do before the tradeshow, and we’ve discussed all avenues of networking during the tradeshow, and yet we somehow fail to connect the dots after all is said and done after the tradeshow.

Before you go bending your mind to seek out forlorn ideas, consider a logical to-do list to follow as soon as you get back into the office.

Check in with your “why”

In the first part of this blog series, we talked about discovering your “why,” the goal you were planning to achieve by attending a promotional products tradeshow. During the event itself, you got to put on your Sherlock Holmes glasses and gather all the information necessary to get closer to your objective.  And now is the time to put all the puzzle pieces together and set yourself up with a deliberate action.

Your finished product should look a little something like this:

Goal: Want to find a new embroidery and screen printing business to outsource to. 

Info: Exchanged contact information with a local business owner that specializes in custom embroidery and monograms.

Action: Reach out to the new contact to inquire about bulk pricing, quantity discounts and ask for a reference quote for an upcoming sale.

Once your investigative work is done, you should have a clear set of feasible tasks to complete. The trick is to do this directly following the show before you’ve had the chance to shrug the effort off for something more fitting of your time.

Seal the deal

Having assembled an actionable plan, the only logical next-step would be to carry it out. While your new contacts are still fresh in your memory, write up a quick follow-up message to make sure you’re on track with your mission.

You can use this template to get started:

Hi [First Name],

Glad we got to meet at The PPAI Expo!

I’d like to find out more about [insert your questions/comments]

[Request meeting/phone call]


[Your name]

Pro tip: This is a great time to request some literature on business solutions that grabbed your attention and product samples that you could show to your clients right away.

Keep ideas fresh

Reaching out via email is only half the job in forming a network. In our day and age, to learn more about a company or to get someone’s attention, you must exhaust all outlets of digital communication.

LinkedIn – Continue the relationship building by connecting with your contacts on LinkedIn and sending a personalized invitation with a reminder of how you met. You can take it to the next level by endorsing their skills and following their activity.

SAGE Discussion Groups – The best way to connect with members of a niche industry is to seek out chat forums. The Discussion Groups feature in SAGE Online and SAGE Mobile allows you to get in touch with other promotional products professionals and even has the “Tradeshow Talk” message board built in to address all your burning tradeshow questions.   

Locate hot items – How many times have you found an exciting new product at a tradeshow and have run completely out of luck in trying to track the supplier down? You can save yourself the trouble and easily find any product you saw at an industry event, and its listed supplier, by using the “Tradeshow” filter in the Product Search module of  SAGE Online, SAGE Web, and SAGE Mobile.

Recharge your batteries

Long hours spent on the tradeshow floor are enough to wipe you out. To ensure you don’t get burnt out before the upcoming week in the office, take some time to relax and unwind after a mission-filled trip to an industry show. Having tackled all the steps of achieving your business objectives, you can rest assured that your efforts have not gone to waste. 

Now that you know what to do before the show, during the show, and even after the show, there is no excuse but to go and find industry events to attend in your area. 

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