Walking the Show: Where to Start? What to Expect?

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Dear Camp Counselors,

I’m not planning to exhibit this year, but I do want to walk the floor.  The problem is, I’m feeling massively overwhelmed! Where should I start and what should I expect?

— Aubrey

Dear Aubrey,

Walking the floor is a great way to meet new people and to gauge if exhibiting at the show is a good fit for your business.  We know it can be overwhelming, so the best thing to do is come in with a game plan. Many shows offer planners to registered exhibitors and attendees that can help you create your walking list for the show.  Also, follow the #papercampalum hashtag on Instagram to see fresh updates from exhibitors.  When you’re doing your research, think about what you hope to learn from the show: Is it to look at different booth configurations?  Is it to see what’s new? This can help guide you in your planning stages.

When you get to the show, you want to make sure you follow some basic rules of etiquette:

1. Introduce Yourself. Always introduce yourself and let the exhibitors know you’re a designer who is considering doing the show.  Ask if you can check out their booth / products. Never pretend you’re a buyer or ask for catalogs or items intended for buyers.

2. Exhibitors are there to sell. Remember that exhibitors have spent months and thousands of dollars preparing for the show.  Be courteous and aware of what is happening while you’re in the booth. If a buyer walks in, step out so the exhibitor can take care of the buyer.

3. Proprietary Info. Most exhibitors are happy to answer general questions or share their experiences. However, steer clear of asking exhibitors proprietary questions about how they produce their products, which printer they use or where they sourced their booth materials, etc.

4. Taking Photos. Always ask permission prior to taking photos in a booth, especially product shots.  Most exhibitors encourage social media sharing, but be sure to tag the company and note the booth number.

You’ll find that most people are very welcoming (especially those of us from Paper Camp).  Bring business cards, a way to track contacts and to take notes. Build extra time into your schedule to allow for spontaneous discussions.  You never know who you’ll meet and where you’ll want to spend extra time, so allow yourself some flexibility. If there’s anything you miss at the show, you can follow along on social media for updates.

— Katie Hunt


Connect with Katie Hunt

Katie Hunt is a business strategist, podcaster, mentor and mama to four. She helps product based businesses build profitable, sustainable companies through her conferences, courses and coaching programs.

Website: prooftoproduct.com  |   Instagram: @prooftoproduct

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