10 tips for getting the most out of equipment trade show season

Nov 02, 2022

Heavy equipment shows offer unique opportunities to stay on top of the latest technology and industry developments. That information can give your company a competitive advantage. These shows also offer excellent ways to network and form beneficial relationships that can help grow your business in the short and long term.

Let’s face it though, the shows can also be intimidating, covering a vast amount of real estate that easily can leave you dazed and confused if you don’t go in with a plan. We’ve all been there. You spend valuable resources to be there, so it’s important to make the most of your investment.

To help pull together a plan for your next show, we’ve compiled 10 tips to help ensure success at even the largest shows:

Before the show

  1. Set goals and objectives for what you want from the show. This could be gathering specific information on new products, looking for alternative solutions to current preventive maintenance challenges, reconnecting with industry peers, developing new contacts, or learning about emerging trends in fleet maintenance.
  2. Register in advance. Registering early also gives you the best chance to book hotel blocks at discounted rates, if they are offered. You can usually find them on event registration pages.
  3. Be prepared. Research who you want to meet, schedule an appointment with them if you want uninterrupted time and come to the conversation with questions.
    • Get your hands on a map and a directory to help plan out which booths you want to visit and in which order. Most shows post this information online at least a month out. Large equipment shows require a strategic approach to minimize the number of miles walked. Many of these shows cover acres and you want to minimize time spend traversing the same territory.
  4. On a related note, pack two pairs of comfortable shoes that can be used on alternate days. Feet can take a beating at a large trade show. Outdoor shows, specifically, have vast display areas. Check the weather a few days in advance and pack so you can dress accordingly.
  5. Consider setting aside time to attend an educational session being offered. Check the event schedule before you go and identify any presentations you may want to check out. The knowledge you gain could save your company in the future through increased efficiency or new processes that can streamline fleet management.

At the show

  1. Give yourself time. Navigating a large tradeshow floor often takes longer than you anticipate. Make sure the time allotted is realistic to achieve your goals. Once on-site, start walking the floor as soon as possible. This gives you time to cover the booths on your list without feeling rushed. After you cover the booths that you plan to visit, that leaves time to re-walk the show at your leisure.
    • Taking a break can be a useful way to digest information at the moment, as opposed to rushing from one-time slot to another. On the flip side, don’t spend too much time at a single booth. That limits the time you have left to spend throughout the rest of the trade show.
  2. Don’t get distracted by work. You paid to attend the tradeshow and they do not happen often. Make the most of the opportunity. Prior to the show, make sure coworkers can cover your responsibilities back at the office. It is easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day operations going on back in the office and miss a large portion of the show.
  3. Keep an open mind. Look for new concepts that could potentially change the way your company operates. Focus on the present and future goals of your operation as well It is easy to dismiss new products and procedures based on current fleet maintenance practices. Listen to the pitch and reserve judgment until a later date.

After the show

  1. Prepare a summary of what you found, what you learned and what you discussed so you can bring this back to team members who couldn’t attend. This also helps you determine the return on your trade show investment. Without documentation, it is hard to determine if the time was well spent.
  2. Compile a list of action items. This includes following up on questions that were not answered during the trade show and scheduling time to discuss potential opportunities with your team.

A little preparation up front can pay off big time in terms of ‘take home’ value during show season. The size of these shows can catch the unprepared attendee off guard. It is easy to spend a day walking aimlessly through acres of displays. Don’t let that happen to you. Develop and execute a plan to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

Make sure to check us out at one of the shows listed below in the coming year. We’re excited to show you how the pump-free Sage Oil Vac line can take your preventive maintenance to the next level of efficiency, cleanliness and safety.

  • CONDEX AED Summit – Jan 10-12 in Chicago, IL
  • ARA Rental Show – Feb 12-15 in Orlando, FL
  • Work Truck Week 2023 – Mar 7-10 in Indianapolis, IN
  • CONEXPO-CON/AGG – Mar 14-18 in Las Vegas, NV
  • Utility Expo – Sept. 26-28 in Louisville, KY

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