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Trade Show Training: Staying Organized When Planning & Exhibiting

One constant between almost all successful people and their endeavors is organization. With organization as the basis for planning and completing a project, not only are all the components of the project easily accessible, but finding any errors or discrepancies along the way is easy. With that in mind, keeping organized is key to custom trade show display success. While the road to exhibiting can be busy and time-consuming, there are 5 things in trade show training that you must know in order to be successful and organized:

  • Know Your Deadlines
    Planning to exhibit? Of course you are, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. Registering as soon as possible for a show not only secures an ideal booth space on the show floor, but often means saving money (compared to waiting). Other deadlines that often spare you from incurring late fees include EAC (Exhibitor Appointed Contract) forms, credit card authorizations, and pre-show-related fees. Upon knowing the deadlines for registration and required documents, make those dates clear to all individuals involved in the exhibit planning. Whether you input it into your smart phone, post sticky notes around the office, or write it boldly on an office-wide calendar, knowing the deadlines for a show is essential for sticking to your trade show budget.
  • Know Your Critical Dates
    A common misconception by exhibitors is that critical dates are just the same as deadlines. This is both true and false. Critical dates are, indeed, a deadline, but they encompass a specific part of the trade show: move-in and move-out. It is CRITICAL to know your CRITICAL DATES – hence the name. The show contractor’s main goal is to make the exhibition run as smooth as possible, and in doing so, a schedule is typically created for both veteran and rookie exhibitors to follow. Check, double check, and triple check your booth’s setup and dismantle dates. Failure to follow the schedule means both incurring fees and jeopardizing the organization of the show.
  • Know Your Booth
    When designing the booth, refer to the show contractor’s provided show manual to ensure the measurements and dynamics of your booth are appropriate for the expo. Additionally, it is important to know the schematics and details of your booth prior to the show date to keep the show running as smoothly as possible – while the setup crew has a blueprint of the booth, it is even more helpful when the owners themselves are present and can aid in confirming the mechanics of the exhibit.
  • Know Your Setup Crew
    On the day of setup and dismantle (critical dates!), be sure to identify the details of your crew. Know their standard hourly rates, overtime rates, weekend rates, the crew’s supervisor, and the labor company’s important contacts in the case of an emergency. Also, another reason it is important to know your setup and dismantle dates and crew is to time the labor precisely – any time spent on the show floor is a fee to be paid to the setup crew, whether they are working or not.
  • Know Your Product
    You can be the most organized exhibitor at the show, but if you fail to know the ins and outs of your company and its products, you might as well just not exhibit at all. Buyers want to purchase from salespeople who are knowledgeable about the industry and can provide evidence, whether scientific or from user experience, as to why their product is the best. A company can build rapport with its prospective clients by clearly exhibiting their branding and making the customer feel confident they are in good hands. Remember, an unorganized mind is the easiest to identify.

The Essential Guide to Trade Show Planning Ebook