How to be a Trade Show Warrior

With Magic just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about how to be your best this trade show season. Trade shows fuel the business of fashion, connecting all corners of the industry together. Fun, exhilarating and filled with long days, here are some suggested trade show survival tips to have your best show. And remember: stay a human being, not a human doing.

First, when you arrive at the show, be sure to have your line sheets, order forms, and marketing materials. It is important to know your price points ahead of time.

As you think about the day ahead, rehearse your mission statement. Make it sound magical so you can really sell it, either directly or indirectly, when you meet new people.

Remember to schedule appointments ahead of time to keep you focused, as there is always a lot to see. But don’t schedule yourself too much! Leave some time for discovery. Approaching new booths and brands is how you grow and make unexpected connections.

You will be meeting a lot of new people — which means a lot of business cards. How will you keep up with all the new contacts you receive? I recommend taking photos of the business cards or stashing them in a zip lock bag to sort through post-show.

Think about on-the-go supplies. What do you need to stay organized? I always find myself wishing for mini staplers, mini notebooks, pens and an extra battery charger. And don’t forget your schedule of appointments, which you planned out earlier!

This one can be tough, but it makes a big difference: leave your phone on airplane mode to maximize the battery life. Isn’t turning it back on every once in a while much better than becoming a wallflower, tethered by a phone charger to a crowded outlet?

I also recommend downloading a calendar app like Calendly or Google Calendar so your prospects can opt-into scheduling a follow-up appointment directly with you. Simply text the contact the link to your calendar post-conversation, and you’re set.

Next, stay nourished, hydrated and moving. Nuts and dried fruit are known to keep you intellectually balanced while removing cravings for chocolate and sugar. Bring a water bottle to refill, and remind yourself to actually drink it. If you’ve been sitting for too long, do a lap around the room — maybe you’ll see something you like!

As you make new connections, it is important to have easy access to your contacts. Can you download your CRM mobile app? As you network, you are going to create opportunities on the spot.

Before you leave your room, remember your credentials: tax ID, reseller certificates, badge and business cards. You won’t get very far without all the necessary paperwork and identification.

This may seem like an obvious one, but: wear comfy shoes. I cannot emphasize this tip enough — with so much walking, there’s zero sympathy for achy feet. Thankfully, sneakers are hot, hot, hot right now!

If you start to feel weighed down, make your experience a game! Give yourself a daily goal, and measure your accomplishments. For example, you could challenge yourself to meet 10 new prospects every day. Make sure you keep track of your goals, though!

Another tip that might seem obvious: it’s a sign of respect to dress up. Even in your comfy shoes, you have to show that you are serious about the business and the people who work in it.

Finally, don’t hide. Rise to the challenge, and trust the process. Find the energy of the room and raise your vibration. Make yourself known. Yes, it can be exhausting, but sleep is for another day. You have worked so hard to get here, and it is time to win your game.

Daniella Platt

Looking Good Yaya