Sharing Insights, Information and Inspiration
Preparing for a Trade Show
October 24, 2018
The Gardenzzz team has spent many hours over the last few months preparing for two upcoming trade shows: Expo-FIHOQ, a Quebec horticulture show being held in Drummondville Nov. 14-16 and the Landscape Ontario Congress (LOC) being held in Toronto in January. We have brainstormed about how to best present our company at these shows. How can we explain our business model, which is something new and different, in an attractive and understandable way? How can we generate interest in our booth while working within a budget? And what else should we be preparing to ensure a successful show experience?
While we did attend these shows last year, we were still in the concept phase of our business, focused mainly on introducing ourselves and getting to know people in the industry. Now we have a working website and products from many suppliers to highlight. Our goal now is to educate potential customers about our products and services and to generate leads.
There are many online articles devoted to preparing for trade shows. Checklists abound, from “33 Items that Should be on your Trade Show Packing List” (sharpies, chargers, wet wipes), to “The Ultimate Checklist” which provides a handy countdown beginning 12 months before the show. For a very complete, and funny, pre-, during and post-show listing, check out “A Tradeshow Checklist, born of experience”. Some deadlines are aspirational (e.g. having booth graphics ready 6 months before a show -- definitely not happening here!) but it does help to review a complete list and make sure nothing has been overlooked. Booking travel arrangements for some shows should be done 12 months in advance, as local hotels can fill up fast! The individual shows also provide good reference lists and calendars to ensure all the bases are covered. Insurance? Check. Wireless service? Check.
FIHOQ is now 1 month away – and our graphics are *almost* ready. Our t-shirts are being delivered next week, and our hand-outs probably won’t be printed until the following week, but I am confident that it will all come together. We finally nailed down our booth design and have ordered some shelving and other display materials. The travel arrangements are done and the audio-visual presentation (a key part of our display as we have too many products to show them all) is off to a good start. Invitations to potential customers are going out next week in both email and snail mail versions.
A simple Google search will bring you to many great resources, and I have read many of them. But no one else can tell you how to best represent your business. Gardenzzz’s goals are to generate interest and leads. Our website invites visitors to "Request an account", and convincing trade show visitors that an account will help them succeed in their own businesses is our number one priority. We have invested a lot in these trade shows. The preparation time far exceeds the cost of the booth, or even the travel costs, so we need to generate a healthy level of interest which can be converted to sales and long-term relationships.
If you are interested in visiting us at FIHOQ or LOC, click the images below to register for a free pass:
Wishing you all a successful and productive season of trade show visits, inspired buying decisions, and preparations for next season.