Having been aboard the good ship BikeBiz for a number of years, I've picked up a few tips about tackling trade shows. None of this is exactly rocket science but I'm writing it down here so that others may avoid some rookie errors over the upcoming show season…
Beware the catalogue
Let's face it, we are a lot more likely to leaf through a physical catalogue than put a CD in our laptop and pore over 74 PDF pages worth of cables. Sadly, carrying a heavy selection of catalogues and leaflet paraphernalia around with you for hours on end while you are trying to concentrate on what your sales rep is saying is not to be relished. Choose your catalogues wisely, or better still find a trusted/gullible colleague who you can get to carry them for you.
Like catalogues, freebies are a great idea, but if you take too many of them early doors then you'll be lugging them around for the best part of the day. But to refuse a freebie would be madness, as we all know. Another reason to buy a huge rucksack or bring a load bearing colleague along.
If you're part of the media or taking snaps for your shop's blog/Facebook/Instagram/etc then you can never have too many photos, right? I'm not so sure any more. It's all too easy to max out your memory card then look back and wonder whether you really needed five separate pictures of that gear hanger, or indeed an arty shot of that line of tractors (see below). I don't think anyone has coined a word for photographic diarrhea yet, but it's always worth using the mantra think before you shoot.
On paper, a show that is getting larger is brilliant, but in practice this means you have to be more organised to get around to see what you want to see - and still have time to see the things you didn't know you wanted to see. Obviously thorough reading of BikeBiz magazine and BikeBiz.com ahead is advised (shameless plug over), but a glance over the exhibitor/brand list is really the bare minimum.
You're probably staying away from home, your boss has offered to buy a couple of drinks and…well what more excuse do you need? While not advising laying off the booze altogether, you might like to think twice, fellow bike trader. From the notorious booze fests of Core Bike and others that shall remain nameless, it's all too easy to over indulge and check the watch only to find you've got to get up in two hours and do day two of the show. We've all seen some of the unfortunate results of a booze fuelled evening followed by a full day of note taking/picture taking/etc. As a rule of thumb, if you're running out of fingers to count your alcoholic drinks, then sod it, it's way too late to matter if you stopped now anyway. (BikeBiz cannot be held responsible for the alcohol-fuelled antics of your staff members).
Beware the travel case
As suggested by my colleague, watch out for those travel cases on wheels at shows. Particularly prevalent at huge shows like Eurobike, these mini menaces are brilliant for carrying the aforementioned heavy catalogues/goodies, but also sadly very good at catching the shins of the unwary bike show attendee.
Next time we'll have tips for your grandmother on how to suck eggs. In the meantime if anyone has any bike show tips to share (for visitors or exhibitors alike), feel free to add them in the comments below.