Network, network, network.
Talk to everyone, everywhere–even in line for the restroom. “I’ve met two or three sales reps we use now in elevators at a show–just by being nice and saying hello,” Wenslow says.
Go out of your way to befriend show organizers and staff. Tell them what you’re looking for, be it customers, investors or publicity. “If they know, for example, that we’re looking to hit up certain media publications, they may drive those people to our booth,” Taormina says.
Get to know exhibitors in the neighboring booths, too. They can watch your turf when you need to sneak away for a minute or help keep an eye out for buyers you’re hoping to meet.
When exploring the show, don’t roam aimlessly. “Go to the welcome reception,” Wenslow says. “Think about which sessions the buyers and contacts you’re looking for would attend.” Check the show’s website and Twitter feed for last-minute program changes and other highlights.
Never leave your booth unattended, not even for a minute during lunch, and not late in the day when the event’s winding down. That might be when the buyer you most want to meet visits your booth. In fact, Wenslow says, if you’re in the new-products pavilion, that is precisely when buyers for the big-box stores will stop by.