Conferences and trade shows are much more than just free stress balls and sandwiches – they’re also the perfect time to explore new partnerships and vendors. This conference season, get the most out of the shows you attend with these 6 tips!
Before you can begin scouring booths for great deals and new products, you first need to select which conferences you’ll be attending. With so many great options, how do you choose which shows to attend?
We suggest: choosing conferences that are most relevant to you. An easy way to find this out is by looking at attendees from past years. If you’re a tech director, it may not make sense to go to a show that has attracted mostly teachers in years past. Additionally, it may be helpful to see which conferences your colleagues have attended in the past. Past attendees usually receive promotional emails for upcoming shows that contain more detailed information regarding what to expect at each conference.
2. Sessions Planning
After you’ve chosen which conferences you’d like to attend, we suggest looking at the schedule or agenda ahead of time. Now more than ever, most trade shows host a variety of sessions or keynotes for attendees. These “thought leadership” meetings are a great way to learn about new ways to engage your students, advancements in technology, or even newsletters you’d like to begin subscribing to.
We suggest: not overloading your schedule with three back-to-back sessions in a row in order to leave room for vendor hours or snack breaks. Additionally, make sure you take the time to research the hosts of each session ahead of time. That way, you can come prepared with questions and expectations.
3. Scan the News
Conferences are only able to recruit top talent with the financial help of sponsors and exhibitors. With so many different vendors at each conference, it can be overwhelming to maneuver through the showroom.
We suggest: our favorite way to navigate past all the clutter is by looking at news related to the conference. Many exhibitors will post a list of vendors and announcements promoting new products or partnerships right before the conference is set to begin.
4. Preschedule Consultations
Now that you know which shows you’ll be attending and what vendors will be there, we highly encourage prescheduling consultations or demos with 2-3 vendors you’re particularly interested in. This will not only help you maximize your time spent during vendor hours, but it will also help you compare similar products to one another. These prescheduled meetups can be especially helpful if you’re looking at a digital product. When demoing a digital product in person, you can actually test-drive the platform! It’s easier to see value when you’re navigating through a tool yourself, versus a virtual demo.
We suggest: reaching out to your favorite vendors a week before the show to see if they are offering one-on-one consultations during the conference. Even if they don’t have time during the show, they may have an opening for an onsite visit outside of conference hours.
5. Meet Your Current Vendors
It’s easy to get caught up in all of the sessions and activities, but don’t forget to show some love to current vendors your company partners with. Stopping by the booth of those you already work with is perfect for asking questions or finding out about new products. You’d be surprised by how often a customer gets a long-standing problem resolved right from an exhibitors booth!
We suggest: stopping by to meet your dedicated reps in person and ask any questions you might have. You never know what types of conference promotions they may be running too.
6. Collect Brochures
Aside from your typical branded writing utensils, most vendors will also be handing out one-sheeters, pamphlets, or brochures. Collecting these informational holy grails is one of the easiest ways to remember the conversations you have and the products you’re interested in. It may seem like common sense, but there’s more than one reason to collect a brochure. For starters, they’re a smart way to share information with a more relevant colleague. Businesses also offer incentives, coupons, or discount codes that can be found within a conference-specific brochure.
We suggest: collecting the most basic informational pamphlets or brochures from all vendors you speak to. Additionally, taking notes about any specific conversations you had on the brochure itself is a great way to jog your memory later.
We can’t wait to meet you during conference season! Click here to speak to a Scholantis consultant and to find out what shows we’ll be attending this summer.