The Final Countdown: What You Should Be Doing the Week Before Your Trade Show

 Lisa Shackelford, Marketing Coordinator at FB Displays & Designs, Inc. 

This past week, the FBD2 team has been preparing to exhibit at the Buffalo Business Growth Expo.  Like any other exhibitor, we spend the week before a show making sure that there are no surprises when we arrive. Here are some of our suggestions for what to do a week before you attend a trade show.

  • Kick your pre-show promotions into high gear. Use your social media channels to remind your clients that you will be at the trade show and tell them where to find your booth.  Send an email to your contacts about your show participation. Set up meetings with current and potential clients who will be attending the show.
  • Put together a trade show first aid kit.  Use a durable container, like a small plastic tote box with a snap-on lid. You can re-use this for future shows, as long as you replenish the kit before each show. Include the following items: several pens, a sharpie, tide-to-go pens, breath mints, an extension cord, a surge protector, post-its, rubber bands, a stapler, safety pins, scissors, paper clips, a Phillips head and flat head screw driver, double-sided tape, medicine for minor ailments (i.e. over-the-counter painkillers, cold relief, antacids etc.), generic business cards, lead forms, bandages and chargers for all electronics.
  • Re-read your exhibitors’ handbook and check to make sure all required paperwork has been returned to the appropriate person.
  • Research both the venue and the surrounding area.  Find out where parking are  located, where the loading zones are, and take note of what is in the immediate area around the venue.
  • Meet with your booth staff and finish any pre-show training. Review any information that your staff needs to know. Create a booth schedule and give each staffer a copy.  Make sure that time is allotted for meal breaks and for staffers to walk the floor. Give your staffers an itinerary of the show so that they know what to expect.
  • Confirm all your travel plans. Check the status of your flights every 3-4 hours the day before you leave. Confirm your hotel reservations. Prepare duplicate copies of your flight itinerary and hotel confirmations. Leave one copy at your office and keep one copy on you at the show.
  • Track the shipment of your display. Make sure that your display has been delivered on time and keep a copy of the tracking numbers with you.  Before you begin setting up, take inventory of your materials and make sure everything has arrived.

While the week before a trade show can be hectic, taking some extra time to make sure that all your ducks are in a row will prevent you from entering panic mode if something goes wrong. If you use the week before the show to organize, you can spend your time at the trade show concentrating on generating leads and winning new customers.

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