Get Your Trade Show Game On

Jim Luff
Posted on March 8, 2017

Why Are You Going?

First, never show up at a trade show without a plan to get maximum return on your time and money. You are not only investing in yourself, but everyone you employ.

Before you can begin to build your strategy, you must first decide why you decided to attend. Here are four basic reasons for attending a trade show:

  • Networking / meet new people
  • Attend educational sessions
  • Purchase, keep up with new equipment
  • Purchase support products such as insurance, software, training programs

By choosing what you seek, you can create a plan that allows you to tackle your missions first and then enjoy the other components of the show at your leisure. Using a timeline spreadsheet can help keep you on track. 

Better yet, use the online show app to help you build a custom schedule that even tells you where each class or event is being held. It comes with alarms, tools to connect with other show attendees, and a variety of ways to look up information about the Show.

Networking or Meeting New People

If your main purpose is to network, attend the networking sessions. The Show begins with B4 Business Networking, which is a structured environment where we facilitate the introductions. There are nightclub parties, happy hour parties, private suite parties, and orientation sessions. Even the NLA’s fundraiser is a great place to meet new people who support the same causes you do. You can also network in the exhibit hall by joining a table of strangers for lunch. Be with people if you want to network. Have business cards ready and a standard line, as simple as asking, “Where are you from?” “How’s business?” “You buying any vehicles?”

Educational Sessions

Go through the entire show schedule, which is broken down by day and time. View each time slot and the topics of each session. Make a list of all that are important to you and add them to your calendar for each day of the show. Be sure to take notes. You might even consider sitting in the front and recording the speakers so you can listen to them again when you get home or even on the trip home and implement what you learn. Ask the session speakers for a business card. If you have questions later, call them.


If you are looking to make purchases, review the list of vehicle vendors and industry suppliers exhibiting at the show before you arrive. You will never find another place with every possible fleet vehicle, industry-related service, and product seller than at an International LCT Show. Make a list of who you want to visit and their booth numbers.

The Show floor is most active in the first hour of opening the doors. Once you have visited the people you need to see, then you can stroll the exhibit hall and check out the other offerings. The Show is the best place to make deals. All of the vendors have paid a fee for their booths. They are motivated for a return on their investment and many offer discounts, packages, and specials only available at the Show. Feel free to negotiate a price. The worst thing that can happen is they say “no” to your offer.

Smooth Operations provides a broad range of information focused on new ideas and approaches in management, human resources, customer service, marketing, networking and technology. Have something to share or would like covered? You can reach LCT contributing editor and California operator Jim Luff at [email protected]

Related Topics: industry education, Jim Luff, limo tradeshows, networking, smooth operations, tradeshow preparation, vehicle purchasing

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