We interviewed distributors who’ve been to the trade show from 5 to 12 years and with their answers outlined pre- on- and post-show stages with insightful points and tips to ease your next visit.
If you are a distributor, you know how important PSI is and how thorough preparation should be. Every year there’s something to be learned, new insights to receive. I think you’ll agree that there’s always a room for improving your methods, and I have some good news for you. We’ve interviewed distributors who’ve been to the trade show from 5 to 12 years and with their answers outlined pre- on- and post-show stages with insightful points and tips to ease your next visit.
PSI is an anticipated event for hundreds of distributors across the world. It presents a great opportunity to meet up with your existing suppliers, see new products, connect with new high-potential professionals in the industry.
PREPARING FOR PSI
‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.’
Benjamin Franklin Get your team together and set up clear goals.
Get your team together and prepare for the PSI experience. Photo by Hermes Rivera
Of course to succeed one has to do homework. Preparation for the PSI is essential and this phase cannot be underestimated. Why can’t you just go to the exhibition and see what happens? Establish connections on the spot and talk to all the people you find interesting for your company? The answer is ‘time’. Unless you are a Flash, you shouldn’t overestimate your powers. The territory of the PSI is huge, although long-term residents would say it is not as big as it used to be, still, it is too big to cover with maximum efficiency.
Go-and-see-what-happens attitude will not bring you any results, as it’s been tested many times. How do you set your goals? Hold a meeting with your team? Focus on your connection to strengthen them in person and go over details? Or maybe you leave some time for meeting new people and look for new promotional products - whatever it is for you - make sure you know your goals and plan your days.
Schedule according to your goals
Don’t forget to arrange all the meetings properly with each supplier. Most people don’t stay for long visits at any stand because of time limitations. If you don’t like to schedule meetings - keep in mind that a lot of big producers prefer that to spontaneous talk by the stands.
How big is your team?
If you are planning a lot of activities, scheduled meetings, and networking, the more people you’ll have - the bigger area you can cover, the more products you can see.
AT PSI: FROM DUSK TILL DAWN
At PSI you have to be highly productive all day long. Picture from www.psi-messe.com
Incredibly big fair with many halls and hundreds of producers looks like a buzzing and humming ant hill where everyone is set out to pursue and achieve goals. The level of concentration should be at your highest from early mornings to late evenings. What key elements have we figured out at this stage? According to our interviewees, the most important is to:
- Stick to the planned schedule
- Keep focused
- Find time to establish new connections
- Absorb as much information as possible
By being focused hereby we mean don't be distracted by many bright novelties if they don’t fall into a category of products your clients can afford or will be interested in. It is good to create a list of your clients with their wishes, desires, and financial possibilities.
A common problem at PSI is remembering all the people you’ve talked to, stands you’ve been to and products you’ve seen. Obviously, the information you receive should not become a pile of unknown catalogs and unnamed promo items, it should be collected and stored properly. Here are some of the most effective ways to bring back the orderliness to your trade show experience.
- Equip your team with tablets. You can fill in the info to the Excel file, it’s easy to carry around and take pictures.
- Install an app. There is a great number of options that go beyond preinstalled phone or tablet notes and the most popular are:
Evernote - works on all platforms
The Bear - the best alternative to Evernote for Apple users according to The Verge
Microsoft OneNote - it has mobile apps for Android, iOS, and Windows.
These and similar apps will keep your work organized: you can attach documents, take pictures, comment on items, give feedbacks and much more. This way you won’t come home with 50 unnamed products of companies you don’t remember.
IS THERE A LIFE AFTER PSI
Get together with your team to discuss and sort the info. Photo by Štefan Štefančík
Not only there is, we can state that’s when a big piece of work begins. The show is over, you get home packed with catalogs, promo items examples and fading memories of people you’ve met. What do you do now? Some prefer to take a break and let the information sink in, while others get straight to work, not a moment wasted.
To achieve maximum result in a shortest time possible first thing to do is prioritize companies, categorize them and focus accordingly.
For each company consider next questions:
- what were the new items
- what were the price levels
- what would be especially popular in 2018
Then, of course, analyze the list of your clients to find what product might be particularly useful and affordable for every brand you work with.
PSI gives all its members great experiences, new partners, innovative promotional items and positive emotions. Going to the exhibition involves not only hard work during two or three days but also thorough preparation before and grinding chunks of received info after.
There are different approaches and tools you can use. State your goals, make your plans, arrange your meetings and be a sponge to all the great info you can get and try new things to figure out what works best for you to make the trade show experience more productive and fun.
Have you ever struggled with a new company’s skeptical attitude towards promotional products? ‘I wish I knew exactly how to prove that this works’ - is a common thought for distributors.
How do you generate the best promo product for your clients? And how do you chose the best-fitting product for your client? First, you have to be familiar with promotional industry trends, one of them points out that promotional technology products gain popularity, and that’s no wonder.
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