World of Asphalt Trade Show

8 Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of An Industry Trade Show

Let’s face it, stepping onto a trade show floor can be overwhelming. So much to see and so many people vying for your attention every step of the way. Plus at pavement maintenance, landscaping and snow removal trade shows, some of the equipment is larger than you are!

So before you hit an industry show, take note of these 8 tips to help you get the most out of your trade show experience.

8 Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of An Industry Trade Show

Me standing next to a piece of giant equipment at the World of Asphalt 2012 in Charlotte, NC.

1. Pre-Register for the Show

Most trade shows offer attendees the opportunity to pre-register for the show online or over the phone. This will help you avoid long lines when you arrive and allow for more time on the trade show floor- which is one of the big reasons you’re there in the first place!  Also, many shows will also offer attendees a discounted rate for pre-registering.

2. Pre-Register for Classes

Like pre-registering for the show itself,  pre-registering for classes has many benefits. The schedule for classes and speakers is usually on  trade show websites weeks (if not months) in advance. Classes and sessions fill up fast and often limit the number of people they can accommodate, so pre-registering is a sure fire way to get in the class or session you want or need.

Mike Rorie speaking at NPE

GIS Dynamics CEO Mike Rorie speaking at the National Pavement Expo 2011 in Memphis, TN

3. Stay at a Host Hotel

Area hotels will likely offer a discounted room rate to show attendees. They may also provide transportation to and from the show. Plus, by staying at a host hotel, you will be around your peers everywhere you go, making it easy to maximize your time for networking.  Meet for a drink after the show, or over breakfast in the hotel restaurant.

4. Represent Your Company From    Head to Toe

Give your brand as much exposure as possible by wearing a logo everywhere you go. Trade publication representatives are always looking for industry insiders to interview at these shows, often on camera.  So be sure you are ‘camera ready’ with a logo on your shirt or jacket- and don’t forget to bring a box of business cards.

Chris demoing Go iLawn at GIE

Chris Ascolese demonstrating Go iLawn to booth visitors at GIE+EXPO.

5. Network Like There is No Tomorrow

Don’t be afraid to network and meet new people. You are shoulder-to-shoulder with people from across the country, perhaps the world, who share in similar experiences. Who knows, they might have a solution to a problem you are experiencing.

6. Get on the Floor as Much as You Can

The trade show floor is where it’s all happening, so try to spend as much time on the floor as possible. Often there is a designated place within the show where attendees can eat and relax, so get in there between classes and sessions.

7. Read the Trade Show Map and Handouts

Every trade show has a map and information about each day’s’ events. Read the materials while you are there and hold on to them even after you leave. You might have missed something or someone you wanted to see while you were there, and their information is likely available in the show handout material.

Chris and I at CENTS in Columbus, Ohio

8. Make a List of Vendors and Booths to Visit

Take ten minutes over lunch to review the map and directory for the show. Make a list of 5-10 vendors you wish to see and visit them strategically on the floor. Many shows group companies in an area on the floor by category, for example, the Snow and Ice Pavilion at GIE+EXPO, to help you visit as many vendors in that ‘category’ as possible.

At the very least, have fun at a trade show! There is no better place to find new products, meet your peers and relax a little while you’re working.


We regularly attend industry trade shows for pavement maintenance, snow removal and landscaping throughout the year. Our next show is the GIE+EXPO and PLANET’s GIC, in Louisville, KY, October 24-26. Please stop by and see us at the Go iLawn booth 8062 if you plan to attend.

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