Trade Show Tips
1) Plan Ahead!
- Make a list of vendors that you would like to visit and plan those
visits to avoid doubling back within an exhibit hall – or worse, bouncing between the
- Make a list of technologies, processes, tools, etc that you want to learn
about. For us, these have been topics like high volume drilling, precision boring, and
entry-level machine automation. Make these lists before IMTS, as it is difficult to “plan”
at the show.
2) If something catches your eye, ask!
Don’t be scared to go into a booth or talk to a vendor because you don’t recognize the company or are intimidated by a sales person.
3) Be willing to say “No!”
If you aren’t interested in a product, politely tell the salesperson ‘no thanks’ and move on! Tradeshow time is valuable – and limited!
4) Get outside your comfort zone!
Don’t spend time learning what you already know!
Find new vendors, new technologies, new machines, and new tools!
5) Compare competitors!
When evaluating a product, ask the salesperson its advantage over a competitor.
Ask the competitor the same question.
6) Reach out ahead of time!
If you are interested in a specific product, reach out to the company ahead of time to
set up an IMTS meeting. Salespeople love being able to report meetings scheduled
with potential new customers and you’ll get preferred treatment!
7) Talk to the right people
Talk with the “Apps person” (e.g. Application Engineer)! They are more in-the-know
on technical details than salespeople.
8) Bring examples!
If you can bring a sample of your product – or even a video of what you’re trying to do
– it will help you get better information from the salesperson.
Quality of Life Tips
- You are going to walk. A lot. Wear comfortable shoes and socks.
- Bring a water bottle or, better yet, a camelbak. Staying hydrated –and avoiding
the concession stand lines and prices – is a key to staying in good shape
throughout the day.
- We prefer a backpack – it is easier to carry SWAG and pamphlets, plus the USB
battery pack, water, etc.
- Register for an Uber account ahead of time if you’re planning to head out on the
town in Chicago.
- Bring a USB battery pack! We find the interior of McCormick Center seems to drain cell phone batteries. We use this $30 charger from Amazon: