30 attendee tips to make the most of Expo West

30 attendee tips to make the most of Expo West

From comfortable shoes to taking vitamin B12, here's the best show-going advice from seasoned attendees of Natural Products Expo West.

We asked our Natural Products Expo West Facebook community to give us the best tips for newcomers to Expo West this year. From the number one most suggested (wear comfortable shoes) to some great advice you may never have received, here's a sampling of the best responses.

We've organized this list into: general advice, for exhibitors, for retailers and for press. To read all the suggestions from our seasoned attendees, head over to the Facebook Page and this LinkedIn Group discussion.

General advice for all

Don't eat beforehand. Too many yummy samples! –Anne Hjelle

Don't eat everything you see. –Laura Fields

Wear comfy shoes that handle concrete floors well. –Kymberly Williams-Evans

Get a show guide and locate which booths you want to see (either as an attendee or on break as an exhibitor). –Linda Gross

Stay hydrated! –Eatpastry

Always carry two sample/literature bags: in one bag, put stuff you know you'll try/read; in the other bag, things you are not so interested in and you took because you didn't want to be rude! Discard the contents of the 'not interested' bag throughout the day and at the end of the show. –Diana Shorty Otte

A backpack is helpful more than a purse. –Sandra Tolmachoff

I've been many times and find it helpful to utilize the Expo West website before arriving to plan your time well. Don't miss the live music on Friday night! –Michelle Morris Prince

Take a light jacket; they sometimes make the rooms too chilly. –Maria Hernandez Swain

It takes way more time than you think to see the show. Make lots of trips out to your car with the things you pick up. –Frances Benton Holden Tutt

DO NOT plan or try to park by the convention center. Instead plan to park at the Anaheim Stadium and take the shuttle bus. –Beth Bell 

If you get a business card and have promised to follow up with something, write what it is on the back. –Cyndi Norwitz

Don't ignore the times before and after the official show (walking to event, on the bus, riding elevators.) These are just as important for networking. –Jon Barnes

Plan on two days to walk the entire show and be able to see everything. –Victoria Hoke

Be prepared to have a good time! There are a lot of "extra-curricular" activities that happen at night like receptions, the free breakfast on Friday where you can meet new people, evening parties, the Women in Naturals events, and just a lot happening! Also, make plans to check out the Fresh Ideas tent and the OFRF benefit luncheon on Thursday. –Peggy DeMorrow Miars

For retailers and buyers

DO order from first time exhibitors. Doesn't necessarily mean it's their first year in business. It could just be a new market for them. –Meryl Gabeler

Only take samples from companies that you think you will follow up with. As a vendor, samples are a large extra expense, and it is NOT rude to decline a sample. –Victoria Kheel

Save up for the trip. They [exhibitors] offer great buying deals on the floor. –Heather Murray

Bring a folder for all the literature. Important business cards have a way of getting lost under all the samples. –Katrina Leah Enriquez

For exhibitors

Perfect your "elevator pitch." –Angela Russell

Eat a solid breakfast and make yourself take a break by 2 or 3 pm. It's nonstop and you have to force yourself to break away and pause for a bit in order to stay sharp for the whole day/evening. –Jon Barnes

Have enough help that there is always someone fresh, smiling and engaging behind your booth. –Suzanne's Kitchen

Be proactive at the booth and staff the booth with the most outgoing, knowledgeable people you can and promote to everyone you can at the show. –John Hiler

Get a good night's sleep beforehand and take vitamin B12 for energy. –Superior Source Vitamins

Don't get overwhelmed with buyers' requests. –Aria Allen Mohammadi

Do not have long conversations with people who will probably never buy your product when those who do are waiting. Also be ready to take orders instead of saying "just see our website." –Steve Schwarz 

Put away the darn cell phones! Especially if you are an exhibitor. Too many people are looking down at their phones way too much when existing and potential new customers are standing at the booth waiting for someone to talk to. –Teri Baiocchi

I am a first time exhibitor and I have been told to bring water, a small first aid kit, scissors, screw driver, double-sided tape, and "S" hooks. I don't know why I need the scissors or screw driver, but I have been told by at least three different people now, so I am just going to do it. –Katie Sanchez

For press

If you are a reporter (like me) or wandering sales rep looking for corporate ads, always be respectful of why most companies are there: to place orders and sign contracts, so if the booth reps/execs are busy, swing around later when they're not so busy. And take advantage of the Press Room; it is an oasis of calm. –James J. Gormley

Bring an empty suitcase and lots of business cards. –Heather Murray 

How many Expo Wests have you attended? Share in the comments along with your tips!

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