Exhibitors – Make the Most of a Tradeshow


Each year truckstop and travel plaza attendees gather at The NATSO Show to make new connections, find business solutions and products and be inspired. Undoubtedly much of that can happen organically, but with advanced planning, you can get even more out of the event. By maximizing your time at the show, you’ll get a better return on your investment, squeeze in the more face-to-face meetings and walk away with more ideas.

Outline Your Objectives: Before you head to the tradeshow, determine exactly what it is you’d like to accomplish. Do you want to find a specific solution to a problem? Are you looking for a hot new product? Do you want to be inspired? Do you want to strengthen relationships with vendors or your peers? By outlining your goals in advance, you’re more likely to meet them. 

Set Appointments in Advance: Don’t leave meetings to chance. Look at show materials and reach out to exhibitors you want to connect with and set specific appointment times. Also take time to reach out to fellow operators you’ve met at past shows and plan to connect again this year.

Be Ready with Business Cards: Keep your own business cards in your right pocket, so you’re ready to hand them out to prospects. When you take someone’s business card, jot down notes on the back to help you identify them later then put the contact’s business card in your left pocket.

Be Persistent: Both before, during and after the show, be relentless in your search for new insights and ideas. When you hear something new, ask yourself what it means to you and what you could do with the idea to make it your own.

Be an Active Listener: During educational sessions, being an active listener will ensure you don’t miss out on valuable information. Block out distractions in the room and in your mind and stay focused on the content. Stay engaged by taking notes and drafting questions.

Mix, Mingle and Network: There are countless places during The NATSO Show where you can connect with vendors and peers alike. New contacts mean new opportunities, so before the show, identify people you’d like to meet and be sure to introduce yourself to everyone around you when you sit down. Don’t spend all your time with people you already know.

Photo Credit: Jowdy Photography/NATSO

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