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Check out our latest post for Carolina Marketer by President of Skyline Exhibits & Design, Steve Hoffman. This blog was also featured on our corporate blog site Skyline Trade Show Tips.

Just because your exercise routine gets interrupted when you attend or exhibit at a tradeshow, you don’t have to miss out on opportunities to keep the pounds off while getting healthier and more energized.  Just like at your local health club, start by getting ready in the locker room.

Of course for exhibitors, the “LOCKER ROOM” preparation should be a pre-show meeting two weeks before the show involving everyone on your team.

To avoid injury, you start your workout with a good “STRETCH.”  When planning for your tradeshow activities, go ahead and stretch your goals.  Reach out to attendees.  Push yourself until you feel it where you know your company is trying to achieve something.

OK, next exercise, it’s time to CRUNCH the numbers.  Sure in your mind you may dream of having ideal abs.  But the same way a smart workout is aimed at realistic objectives, your tradeshow budgeting also needs to be realistic.

Next up, take some “CLASSES.”  At the gym you improve by regular attendance at cardio, kick-boxing, yoga or boot camp.  At many tradeshows, you can vastly increase the benefit of attending by taking advantage of general sessions, breakouts, continuing education units, speakers and roundtables.  Even if the content in these ‘classes’ is familiar and known, it’s always good to “JOG” your memory and remind yourself of best practices.

When you’re working out at your gym, most of us are good about carrying water and “STAYING HYDRATED.”  Ditto on the show floor.  Convention centers are very dry.  Without realizing it, by staffing a booth for hours or walking “LAPS” on the show floor up and down the aisles your body and mind require extra water.

Whether you’re at the gym or exhibiting at a tradeshow, you want to sweat!   Exercise resulting in a good sweat is healthy.  “SWEATING” the details of your exhibit marketing program allows you to do the “HEAVY LIFTING” and meet the responsibility of representing your brand at a time and place where your best customers as well as best prospects are all present.

Grunting, loudly exhaling, encouragements from your spotters are all sounds one might hear at the club.  Similarly, on the tradeshow floor the organizations that get the best results “MAKE SOME NOISE.”  They are noticed, talked about, stand out and others want to emulate their results.

You can and will burn calories by building a tradeshow booth, walking the floor, participating in the golf tournament, or taking advantage of the hotel’s workout center.  And like your regular workout, when it comes to attending or exhibiting you should “MAKE IT FUN.”  Many should explore ways to “LOSE WEIGHT” by reducing the cost per hundred pounds of weight (c.w.t.) for your tradeshow materials as this will also save significantly on your drayage budget.

Working out can be a great way to “GET A LEAD” on your day and tradeshows are great ways to get leads that will propel your business further.


I have had a few prospective clients tell me recently that they need a new tradeshow exhibit.   I am very happy to see the upswing in the economy & companies realizing that they need to replace that 12-year old tradeshow display.  In the past few weeks, I have had a number of people tell me, “Our company is planning on increasing the number of tradeshows this year, and we’re budgeting to get a new exhibit.”  Whoo Hoo!  Then the next sentence is usually, “I think we want some of those new banner things that everyone’s switching to?”

I am reminded of being in school.  Did you get a new pair of shoes because you liked them, or because everyone had them?  I fell victim to begging for Member’s Only jackets, Converse high top sneakers, and spiral perms too.  Is it because they were ME, or was it because everyone had them & I wanted to fit in?  Don’t fit in – stand out if you want to be perceived as outstanding!

Do you really want to spend thousands of your company’s dollars to show up and look exactly like everyone else in the room? Do you want combo #2,  or do you want a fresh, new representation of why your company is better than the other company’s peddling their wares?   Marketing what distinguishes your company from the others is the critical piece of success.  Everyone thinks they are better/faster/cheaper, but until you stand out from the crowd and get noticed then deliberately tell them WHY you are the best at what you do they’ll never know!


Planning for a trade show doesn’t mean that you have to become a nervous wreck for months. Even if you’re new to the industry, you can have a successful, scare-free show experience. As a consultant for hundreds of newbie and veteran trade show exhibitors, I hear myself giving certain suggestions quite often. Here’s a short list of simple, yet very important tips that you may want to consider during your trade show planning.

1.       Be aware of show form deadlines. Double check deadlines just to be safe that you do not miss anything.  Missing a deadline can sometimes double certain costs!


2.       Pay attention to show rules and regulations. Make sure that you not only read the rules and regulations carefully, but that you also understand them. Is your exhibit breaking height or self setup regulations?  Remember, these can change with the city, venue, show contractor, as well as booth size.


3.       Properly train your booth staff. Just because they are seasoned sales representatives, doesn’t mean they are going to be efficient and effective selling at a trade show. Keep in mind that speaking with prospects and clients during a trade show is going to require a different process than day to day sales encounters due to the drastic change of environment (number of people, time available, space, additional pressures). Since 85% of what people remember is their interaction with the booth staffer, ensure that everyone has an appropriate technique to promote your business!


4.       Make sure your crates stand out. Decorating your crates makes them easier to find if misplaced. (Yes this can happen even when you do everything correctly!) You can paint your crates, add colored tape, or sometimes a simple piece of ribbon might save you hours of searching for a big dark crate among thousands of other big dark crates.


5.       Remember to consolidate your shipments. With each shipment, most trade show contractors will charge minimums on drayage. With an average rate of $78/100lbs, and minimum weight per shipment at 200 pounds, that’s over $150 just to bring in one shipment! By consolidating your shipments you will minimize unnecessary drayage costs.


6.       Ship to the advanced warehouse. Shipping to the advanced warehouse will give you piece of mind that your exhibit will be in your booth space the first day for set-up. Shipping direct to the show site can have you waiting during valuable set up hours and nervous about your shipment’s location. It’s also a good idea to keep tabs on your shipments with tracking numbers and piece counts.


7.       Prepare backup and duplicates for all Audio Visual presentations. When you have already spent the time and money on your electronic equipment, cases, shipping, drayage, and set up, the last thing you want to do is end up with a blank screen. That space that was strategically integrated into the exhibit layout now is empty and the well planned reformatted sales process now must be altered last minute! There may be a person back at the office to send the presentation. But, if it’s not a small file, uploading or overnight mailing is only going to add stress to an already hectic day. Be smart, load up your flash drive and relax.


8.       Bring confirmation of all show form orders should a mistake occur.  It’s also smart to send your I&D team copies of show forms. Most good I&D companies will check them to make sure that all requests have been met. If something is incomplete, they will know where to go and how to get it done quickly.


9.       Do not tear down your booth early. Not only will some shows penalize you for doing this, but you could also lose out on the opportunity to talk with prospects or other exhibitors at the show.



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