How to get the most out of visiting a trade show

Whether you're a salon owner, therapist, nail tech or student, there's much to be gained from visiting one of the many trade shows across the country. Under one roof you'll find the latest product and treatment launches, the time to network with other professionals, continued professional development opportunities and the chance to gain inspiration from some of the industry's leading figures - there's no better way to become fully acquainted with our industry.

Is there anything that I should do before the show?

On the run up to the show, you can read up on everything that you need to know about it. Exhibitions will often make the information explaining the exhibitors, special offers and what's on at the show as easy to access as possible. By visiting the event's website, you can usually find all of the information you need in order to plan your visit. For example, Beauty UK's dedicated website features the Exhibitor List and Floorplan as well as individual pages for each of the educational areas taking place at the show. This way you can find out where you need to be and when, so that you can make the most out of your visit.

What about when I get to the show?

Make sure that you have another look at the exhibitors list before you head into the show, just to see if there are any other brands that have been added that you may be interested in visiting. Also, consider the different seminars that are taking place and pick out the ones which catch your interest. Attending a seminar is a great way to get the latest industry news from the experts.

It is also advisable to take cash along with you, as not all exhibitors will be able to accept card and the queues for the cash machines at the venue could get quite long.

Another way to be prepared is to arrive early, lots of the brands will have special offers on at the show and these could sell out quickly if they are popular, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get there.

But what do the industry experts have to say about Trade Shows:

Clare Anderson, Managing Director of Shared Beauty Secrets:
• “Visiting a trade show gives you the opportunity to see hundreds of suppliers all under one roof, see what's new and build relationships with your existing suppliers.”
• “The demonstrations, lectures and seminars are a perfect opportunity to listen to experts in the industry share their wisdom and to ask questions.”

Salon Owner and Beauty Trainer, Marie-Louise Coster:
• “It would be my suggestion that all therapists visit at least one trade show a year. This will keep you up to date with the industry, and as part of your visit you can attend seminars and demonstrations of things that could add value to the efficiency of your business.” 

Martin John Bambrough of Megamix Nails:
• “The best thing about trade shows is as a consumer you are able to see first-hand live demonstrations of the latest products you may be interested in purchasing.”
• “Read through the show guide, search social media etc. to find out who is going to be in attendance and make a list of priorities of who you want to see and what you are looking for.”

Philip Axon, Managing Director of La Cure UK:
• “For many, trade shows are also a networking opportunity to meet likeminded people. Joining show specific social media groups and forums can be an excellent way to engage with other attendees and share knowledge.”
• “In terms of pre planning, firstly establish the fixed time events to attend such as networking meetings/seminars and work stand visits around these.”

The High Definition team:
• “Trade shows are often one of the only places where you have the time and opportunity to meet with so many people from the same industry. It's always useful to be up-to-date with the goings-on in the sector you work in; from the latest developments, products and training, the wider your contact base, the more likely it is that you will be the first to hear about important news.”
• “It's important to remember that every businessperson you speak to and connect with can be of potential benefit to your business, even if it's not in the immediate future.”

After the show

When you return from the trade show you need to have another look through all of the material that you gathered. Have a think about your business, how you can develop it further, what inspired you and who you may want to contact to find out more. Following all of this advice will mean that you can make the most out of your trade show experience, but also make sure that you have fun!