Persistence is the Key to Connecting at Trade Shows

Ah…trade shows: how do you effectively plan and meet with everyone you target at trade shows?

This can sometimes be a very daunting task.  Realizing maximum return from your expense and travel efforts can become very time consuming.  Meeting with key individuals can seem like an almost impossible task.

SEMA and AAPEX just wrapped up a week or so ago and really freshened up my perspective on trade show meetings and introductions.

How does one effectively market their company during the hustle and bustle of one the world’s largest automotive trade shows?  My solution?  Persistence.

It’s not enough to visit a booth, leave a card and expect to get a contact.  You have to be persistent and re-visit that booth numerous times in order to find the information you need.  Ask the right questions, and find out who the key individual is and find out when they may be available.  At times, you just won’t get that meeting or have the discussion you want, but if you’re persistent, then you will often times leave an impression that gets forwarded to the right person.  (I am lucky, as well, that I happen to believe the service I’m selling is super useful and awesome!)

With today’s social media outlets such as LinkedIn, there are many ways to find the individuals you need to contact at these shows.  Don’t be afraid to reach out and see if they’re going to be attending shows that you are planning on attending.  Sometimes this is a great way to calm the nerves meeting new people.  If you’ve had the conversation and you’ve been invited to visit their respective booth, some of the work is already done for you.  You know who to meet and where.  Schedule some time (if possible) and make sure you’re there.

Making these connections is key for trade shows.  There’s so much to see and so much to learn, you need to organize your time and make every second count. At the end of the day, take some time and look over what you’ve accomplished or what you didn’t accomplish.  You may need to re-evaluate your planning and change things a bit to be more effective.

Chris Davies 360 IncentivesChris Davies is a sales channel incentive specialist at   You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.