Pharmaceutical trade shows are a worthwhile experience, but they can seem like a waste of time if not done right. If you’ve attended shows like Interphex or PharmaExpo in the last few years, you may understand this dichotomy. Eyes slowly glaze over on the third or fourth day of a trade show, and the mundane booths become almost invisible to your line of sight. If you have to be there, but also have important work to do, trade shows can not only seem like a waste of time, but like they are making you worse at your job.
No offense, but you might not be attending the trade show correctly. Follow these three tips and you will get the most out of your trade show experience.
1. Make a schedule!
Exhibitors often refer to attendee schedules as dance cards. They want to be on yours. Prepare before the show, and plan out trips to companies that you want to visit and talk with, fellow attendees you want to network with, and new booths you are interested in seeing. Also, reserve an hour for lunch, that’s important too.
2. Attend a lecture.
Trade shows and conferences are different entities, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a little crossover in the content that they provide. When at a trade show, the main feature is the exhibit floor, while at a conference, the main feature is lectures. However, most trade shows will hire/ask a few experts in different fields within an industry to give a lecture on their topic of choice. Go! In the pharma industry, speakers are usually research scientists or heads of large companies. You may be able to learn something!
3. Ask about trade show deals.
Deals! Discounts! Free stuff! It’s all available at trade show booths, and you need to get in on that action. Companies will offer special deals to returning customers and new customers if you visit their booth, hand over a phone number, an email address, or even buy a product from them at the show! Be sure to ask the sales people at the companies you plan on visiting if they are offering any trade show discounts, if they are releasing any new products early, or if they have any deals that will only be offered in their booth.