Pre show planning is the key to having a successful Market trip. Here are 10 things you need to do before getting on the plane for North Carolina.
1. Make a plan. The worst way to go to a trade show is unprepared. You need a goal and objectives!
2. Spend some time checking out the trade show’s website- http://www.highpointmarket.org What companies are going to be there? Which ones do you already have accounts with? Don’t discount visiting showrooms you have accounts with. You will see the depth and breadth of their offerings in person not in the pages of a catalog; plus you can discuss discounts, sales, shipping or any other challenges with the right person. Are any of them potential new accounts?
3. Create a hit list of manufacturers and companies you want to see. Spend a little time researching the vendors, so that you’ll have a clear idea of who you need to see, and what you need to learn from them. That way you’ll have useful questions to ask, and will have to waste a minimum amount of time with small talk. Check out Soft Design Lab’s Hit List HERE.
4. Start scheduling appointments with your reps/ showrooms. Decide how much time you want to spend at the show, and then allot an appropriate amount to each appointment-making sure to schedule the ‘must see’ booths first.
5. Create a realistic budget. Consider travel expenses: ground transportation, accommodations (ask employees to share rooms if possible), meals, snacks, giveaways and the cost of being out of the office for a few days
6. Plan your travel and accommodations. Demand trumps supply at High Point so be prepared to pay more for what you might consider a below average hotel. When making your hotel reservation be prepared to stay in Greensboro, Winston Salem or surrounding areas that are 30 minutes or more from Market . Make sure your hotel is on one of the Market hotel shuttle routes and consider also shuttle departure times. Most shuttle stop running in the morning at 9:00 AM and in the evening at 8:45 PM. Take advantage of early-bird discounts travel and hotel accommodations. If you are flying into one of the three area airports, reserve your seat on an airport shuttle to/from the airport and plan accordingly.
7. Download the Uber app. Uber has come to HP and in a pinch after a showroom party or dinner it’s the easiest and cheapest way to get home.
9. Download and use the My Market App at http://www.highpointmarket.org/mymarket High Point Market’s online planning tool. It allows you to customize your Market schedule, to find exhibitors, select educational seminars and social events, and to save all of your selections in a personal itinerary.
10. Once you have all your appointments set, make a daily agenda that includes all of the vendors. Use Goggle Calendar or Reminders app to schedule- love those alarm reminders and push notifications! Always schedule some extra time because you are bound to run over some appointments or might take a little longer to see something new and meet someone.
While you are at it, be sure to schedule your time after show is over each night. Attending manufacturer parties after the show is great for networking. You also should schedule in some time to do some homework each night after the show. By homework, I mean reviewing each of the vendors you saw that day, comparing notes and compiling ideas for possible orders so that you can take advantage of trade show specials, exclusives or future projects.
Next Up: We’ll give you a list of what to pack for Market.