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5 Things I Learned From My First Trade Show

by Megan Dorcey on Sunday, March 13, 2011

After attending my first trade show, I have realized that they are a lot like your first day of middle school: loud, exciting, and overly stimulating.  America’s Beauty Show in Chicago this weekend has delivered on all of these fronts, and just like middle school, it was exhilarating!

I was given a lot of advice by my CurlStylist sisters but some things you still need to learn on your own.  There are so many things that I know I will do differently next year, now that I have a little more experience on the show floor.  Here is what I have learned so far:

America's Beauty Show

How a newbie made it through!

1.  Wear comfortable shoes!  I saw too many ladies out there with the glazed-over painful look that comes along with wearing heels for 12 hours shlepping through airports, hotels, and then the crowded show floor.  Even my flats were starting to leave blisters!

2.  Cab lines are always going to be long.  We were standing in line with so many amazing stylists and the cabs just weren’t coming in fast enough, so we rallied a group of stylists into a limo and shared a ride downtown.  We got to learn so much about each person, and even met the faces behind Schedulicity.  Even bigger score: we were invited to the Schedulicity party at the W Hotel tonight-yay!

3.  Use the showroom floor map. I seem to remember more than one time yesterday that I had gotten transfixed in a presentation and lost all sense of direction.  Learn how to use the map, and don’t worry if you are lost at sea, there is so much to take in and enjoy that will keep you entertained while finding the exit.

4.  Everything is Inspirational.  Stylists and salon owners shouldn’t get overwhelmed by every new and exciting thing on the floor.  Most of what is happening is meant to be inspirational, and you should take home as many pictures and brochures to remind yourself of everything that you witnessed.

5.  Rest & Relaxation.  You won’t be doing anyone a favor on day two of a trade show floor if you are over-exhausted, hungover, and grouchy.  Don’t get too caught up in the excitement and you will thank yourself the next day while operating at maximum capacity on the show floor.

That being said, there are so many other tips and tricks, but if you are a newbie like me, these 5 simple rules will keep you out of trouble and feeling inspired.

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Business Building Techniques

Begin having frequent staff meetings and collaborate on business building techniques used by others that you work with. Every salon has success right inside. Get the top booker to explain how they do it. Pair the weakest with the strongest and let them work next to each other. They can learn from what they hear and see. Do the same with retail sales. Share the ways that the top stay on top.

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