How to Prep for Tradeshows and Maximize Your Attendance


Attending a tradeshow should be exciting, but it can just as easily feel overwhelming. With so many panels, booths, and other networking opportunities available, how does one make the most out of their brief time?

Insurance agents can benefit from tradeshows, as meaningful interpersonal connections can develop at these events that can grow your client base and help your business with new carrier and vendor relationships. Luckily, maximizing your attendance at tradeshows is easy with the right preparation. Read on for five tips on prepping for a tradeshow.

Introduce Yourself to Fellow Attendees in Advance

Most tradeshows share attendee information in advance, often through online lists containing contact information. From panelists to booths to sponsors, it should be easy to list businesses and individuals you hope to connect with at the tradeshow.

Send them an introductory email or LinkedIn message ahead of the event (about a week in advance) to let them know you’re looking forward to chatting more in person. This way, when you connect at the tradeshow, you’ll be fresh in their minds and can skip past basic formalities.

Prep Your Materials

Before a tradeshow, you should ensure your physical materials are plentiful and organized. Invest in a compact and comfortable backpack or briefcase to carry around your belongings, and pack it in advance. You’ll want your business cards within easy reach, as you’ll be handing these out all day long. Pens and note-taking materials (whether you take notes on your phone or in a notebook) are also crucial. It can also help to bring a backup phone charger!

Practice Your Elevator Pitch

Networking at tradeshows happens at a rapid pace. People are on tight timelines, so you’ll need to get used to delivering your pitch quickly and efficiently. Practice makes perfect — so whether you run lines in front of the mirror or ask colleagues to rehearse with you. If networking makes you nervous, it can also help to prepare a list of questions to ask other insurance agents at the event.

Make a Reasonable Plan of Action

You should head into a tradeshow with a plan of action. Schedule your day to include panels, time to walk the floor, and time to network — but be sure to leave lots of wiggle room, too! You’ll obviously need time to decompress, to eat lunch, and to hydrate. Plus, you can account for how long specific conversations may take. When planning your time, prioritize panels and booths you care about rather than trying to hit everything; otherwise you’re sure to be disappointed.

Plan to Socialize, But Don’t Forget to Rest

Tradeshows, especially multi-day shows, can be full of excitement and socialization — which can also lead to burnout. If you're staying at a hotel, prepare to take care of your physical health by packing necessary vitamins, lots of water, granola bars, and a sleeping mask and earplugs. Be sure you’re well rested and on your game.