Saturday, May 19, 2007

How to Survive a Trade Show

I’ve been doing trade shows for 8 years now. I can’t really imagine how my Mom and I survived participating in the Manila FAME International. We had to do everything from scratch – the booth set-up (design, carpentry, the works), hauling the furniture, marketing collaterals, developing our own website down to being booth attendants and selling and manufacturing! Whew! That was a lot, but that’s how I learned.

In the corporate world though attending trade shows could be a drag, especially if you’re marketing a product that you are not passionate about (and basically you’ll really hate it if you’re not passionate about your job). I used to be a product manager and I had to trickle down my enthusiasm to my staff in order to meet my goals (and break-even!). Believe me, my boss was soooo strict and I had to make sure that the money that we spent would come back. I didn’t want to get beaten to death, so I made sure that I had fun and my staff had a fabulous time.

I’m kinda stuck in another trade show right now. It’s just me and my lovely laptop. Forgot to bring a book, so I have to entertain myself by blogging offline (no wifi here!) and reminiscing what I used to do with my staff. And these are what I remember:

(1) Eat. A lot. Make your staff happy by feeding them right. Hungry soldiers won’t win you a war.

(2) Be happy. No matter how boring things get, happy thoughts would keep you awake.

(3) Know your goals. I know there are times that you’d be quite lazy to mingle with clients or co-exhibitors. It’s a fact. But knowing your goals for joining will push you to meet it. There’s no replacement for the warm, fuzzy feeling of success.

(4) Be alert. Don’t a judge a book by its cover. The little mousy nerdy person asking you stuff may be your next big client.

(5) Be friendly. There would be annoying nuisances, stalkers and what-have-you, but being masungit won’t get you anywhere.

Hohumm. I miss my colleagues especially Dave, Jap, Ruth, Eugene and Haydee. We used to have a helluva lot of fun before. I hope they’re doing great.

Make sure you’re trade show participation breaks even. Head on over to Stitching as I reveal the secrets to profiting from your trade show participation.