Before you know it, you’ll be packing your bags for winter trade shows. Make sure you’re primed and ready for an excellent experience. After all, shipping plants and sending people to far-flung locales in hopes of drumming up business isn’t cheap, so you need to squeeze every bit out of each dollar you spend.

We’ve been to our fair share of shows. Here are our best tips (with special thanks to our own Emily Stuart, LandscapeHub Business Analyst and Market Administrator) for a profitable show.

Order the Essentials on Time

Emily says there are three things no company should be without, and you will need to jump right on this to be ready. Those include:

  • Wifi
  • Booth furnishings, including tables, chairs, carpet, and tablecloths
  • Electrical hookups

Contact the venue hosting the trade show or the organization putting on the trade show to organize your order. You might be able to order from one vendor, or you might juggle multiple vendors, but it’s important not to leave anything out. “Don’t ever forget the carpet!” says Emily.

You might be thinking, “Why do I need to order wifi? Can’t I just use the hotspot on my phone?” We wouldn’t chance it. Some of these trade show halls are concrete bunkers and you don’t want to risk not getting a signal for important business.

Must-Have Supplies that can Make or Break Your Trade Show

Whether you’re new to managing your own trade show booth or an experienced road warrior, you’re sure to find something new on this list to add to your kit. Don’t leave home without these things.

Booth Setup

  • A small tool kit with a variety of screw drivers, wrenches, a flashlight, duct tape, and pliers.    
  • Extension cords & power strips: because no matter what electrical gives you, it will never be enough and you don’t want to have to hunt down more.    
  • Zip ties for tweaking your display

Show Day

You’ll feel less hassled if you can fend for yourself with these show day supplies.

  • Gum or mints so that you’re always fresh when talking to hundreds of visitors to your booth.    
  • Aspirin or Advil because you will get a headache.  
  • Comfy shoes, including an extra pair so you can switch halfway through the day.  
  • Portable steamer (for your clothes, tablecloths, or display).  
  • Snacks, because the exhibit hall food might be far away, is usually expensive, and generally requires time you don’t have to stand in line.  
  • Bottled water to stay hydrated and keep your energy up. (Or encourage your  staff to bring water bottles and bring several jugs so they can fill up.)  
  • Sharpies for writing notes on business cards. Click sharpies are extra convenient!    
  • A small notebook to make notes about contacts, including a few business details and how you need to follow up.    
  • Click top ballpoint pens for making notes. (Just say no to pen caps that will get lost!)  
  • Tons of your own business cards and business cards for others in your business. Maybe you’re not the best contact for one of your booth visitors but someone else in your organization is.  
  • Candy to give away. Emily says, “Everyone walking the show floor has low blood sugar from long days and candy is a great way to get people into your booth and engage.” (Don’t forget the candy bowl.)  
  • Collateral that leads back to your website. “If you’re giving away printed materials, tuck them in a tote bag with your website on it,” Emily says. Branded flash drives are always helpful because they’re easy to use, useful to customers, and will keep you top of mind.    
  • Branded apparel. Outfit your staff in smart shirts, and provide logo pullovers or vests because exhibit halls can be chilly! (There’s still time to order before winter, but you’ll need to hop to it.)

Ready to roll? You are now! Here’s to a prosperous new year.