I have recently returned from visiting the Spring Fair in Birmingham. It is a huge show with hundreds of exhibitors trying to tempt you to stock their goods in your business. The whole thing is thoroughly enjoyable but also hard work. I have been to this particular show 7 times now. The first time was quite overwhelming but I like to think I've become a bit of a pro at it now! So I'd like to share my top 5 tips for fellow show goers...
1. Wear comfortable shoes! There are 17 miles of walkways and aisles throughout the venue so that's a lot of walking and pressure on your feet. Even if you start of with a glamorous pair of 6 inch heels, take a spare pair of comfier flats with you too. I personally think they should bring in a slippers only rule!
2. Plan. Try and go in with an idea of what products you are looking for. There are so many wonderful stands it's easy to get side tracked. I go through the little book which is sent beforehand and make notes of companies I want to see, and which halls and stands are my main target.
3. Take a wheelie case. Even if you're visiting for one day or three. It's handy for storing the masses of brochures, leaflets, freebies, samples and the kitchen sink that you accumulate whilst walking around. Also good for keeping those spare pair of flat shoes, your coat (as you won't need many layers inside as it gets quite warm) and your daily bits you carry around. It also means that you won't have to spend time waiting in the queues for the cloakroom.
4. Be strict with your business cards. Don't give them out willy nilly as this opens the door to many unwanted phone calls when you return back to your workplace for weeks on end. It doesn't mean you're being rude, but not wasting yours or their time in the long run. But for the first time I've noticed at this show, many people now have those crafty zappers and they can scan your info from your badge, so it's not always possible to escape.
5. Use social media. The Spring Fair is very on the ball with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There are frequent up dates and pictures uploaded. If you have any questions or are looking for a particular thing they are quick to respond and help you.
Overall, I love attending the Spring Fair and look forward to the annual trip. This years was definitely the best one I've been to. It might be because I'm used to the set up now, so know my way around a bit more. But I did also find it more comfortable as it appeared the lighting had been adjusted and wasn't as invasive. The food choices available were very varied and tasty too.
I hope this blog has given some good advice to future attendees, or for the seasoned show visitors who can relate to some of the above.
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