Tips for Exhibiting Expos

By Steven Slayton

If you’re looking into setting up a booth at your next local fishing expo, the Bassmaster Classic or even ICAST then hopefully this article will help enhance your exhibiting experience.  When preparing a booth, a lot more goes into the process than just setting up a table and displaying your baits.  Here are a few helpful tips that you may overlook when setting up your first couple of shows.

 

First and foremost, you have to have the proper footwear. The first show I ever worked in the fishing industry was ICAST 2017.  I figured I would dress up and look nice to make a good first impression.  I wore a polo, jeans and a pair of Clark’s boots.  This was a big mistake.  Not only do these shows last 8-9 hours but they are multiple day shows and a good portion of your success depends on having high, positive energy.  This is nearly impossible to have when your dogs are barking 3-4 hours into the first day.  I quickly learned that Nike Air Max or Adidas Ultra Boosts are excellent shoes to work expos in.

 

To piggy back on the footwear, if you have the opportunity to acquire some carpet padding from Home Depot or Lowes, I strongly urge that you do so.  It might seem like a frivolous expense at the moment, but it will only add to your comfortability.  Also, if it is taken care of and handled properly during  set up and deconstruction of your booth, it can be used for future shows. Not only will this improve your expo experience, but it will also improve the buyer’s experience as well. The longer a buyer stays in your booth, the more likely they are to buy something!

Preparation is key when setting up your booth at an expo.  I always make sure to have bag of tools even if my booth doesn’t require them. The two most important things that I make sure never to forget are an extension cord and a multi-outlet power strip. This allows you to plug in your laptop, point of sale, or even charge your phone. A “Charging Station” is always a good idea to have incorporated into your booth. People travel far and wide for a lot of these shows and a place where they can stop and charge their phone is another way to draw them to closer to your product. Zip ties, duct tape, razor blades and a power drill with multiple bits are also a few things to think about bringing with you.  Chances are if you don’t need it, somebody else will.

The next thing I would emphasize while attending and working an expo would be proper sleep and hydration.  You may be rolling your eyes at how obvious these two things are, but I cannot express them enough.  When you’re done working your booth for the day, the work does not stop there. Meeting people from new businesses and networking is also a huge part of these fishing expos. Late nights and adult beverages are almost inevitable while working these shows, especially is cities like Orlando, Florida where there are a ton of things to do once the convention center closes down. The last thing you want to be when working on your feet all day is tired and hungover. Be sure to eat solid meals, drink water when you can, and go to sleep at a reasonable hour.

In conclusion, take care of all the variables that you are able to control. You may not be able to control how many people come into your booth or how much money each customer spends, but you are able to control your comfortability, preparedness, and nutrition.

  • Wear shoes that you’re going to be comfortable in all day.
  • Come prepared, Murphy’s Law states that what can go wrong, will go wrong. Be sure to have a tool or gadget for any situation imaginable.
  • Take care of yourself.  Start hydrating, eating right and sleeping right a week before the show and especially during.

No one can guarantee success at these expos.  What we can do is put the odds in our favor to the best of our ability and I believe these few tips will help you do that. With that being said, its 10:50 P.M. as I wrap up this article. Time to drink a bottle of water and get some shut-eye because I’ll be working the Bassmaster Classic in Knoxville, Tennessee for the rest of the week. I hope to see you all there!

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