Maximizing Your Time at PMA’s Fresh Summit

You’re spending valuable time and money by attending any trade show, but there are tips you can use before, during and after the show to maximize the return on your investment.

Before the show:

  • Read the trade show materials. Mark down in your calendar all of the workshops and/or speakers you feel are important to you.
  • Make a list of “must see” and “want to see” booths. Research the vendors to you have a clear idea of who you need to see and what you need to learn from them. Make a list of useful questions to ask so you minimize small talk.
  • Allot an appropriate amount of time at each booth so you not only cover all of the “must see” booths, but as many of the “want to see” booths as possible. Consider making appointments with those exhibitors you really need to meet.
  • Find a map of the show floor and prioritize and plan your route.
  • Pack comfortable clothing, especially shoes and don’t forget to take plenty of business cards!!
  • Take a carry-all bag so you’re not dependent on the plastic and paper bags exhibitors hand out.

During the show:

  • Upon arrival to the show venue, find a copy of the directory of exhibitors. There are inevitably last minute dropouts and additions to the list. Adjust your lists accordingly.
  • Don’t grab every piece of literature available. Also, many vendors will gladly mail you their literature after the show. In other words, lighten your load.
  • Trade publications are usually available in the registration area. Take those that seem relevant to your business interests. Read through them in your hotel room. Tear out interesting articles that may provide names of leads for later follow-up.
  • Do some competitive reconnaissance. What are they featuring in their booth? Or simply ask a booth worker what they have in their pipeline. You’ll be surprised what you might learn.
  • Workshops are a great place to network. Talk to people and hand out your business card. Ask others if they know of anyone who might need your product or service. They are usually very willing to offer advice.
  • Take pictures of booths or merchandising ideas that may be helpful in the future.

After the show:

  • Back in the hotel room, organize your notes. Sort the information by priority so you can be efficient in your post show follow-ups.
  • Follow-up with new contacts and vendors after the show.

Having a clear plan of attack before, during and after the show ensures that the time and money spent was a worth-while investment!!

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Tim Vaux

Tim Vaux

I love working in the produce industry because we not only work in an industry that provides healthy dietary choices for consumers, but the people have great passion for what they do. Whether it's the grower-shipper community or the rest of the value chain, I have never dealt with people with so much integrity & enthusiasm for meeting customer needs.