Trucking shows are a good bit like the many fairs, festivals and expos we have attended and been exhibitors at over the years — except with a truck-specific theme.
These shows are places where;
- manufacturers/distributors and consumers (sellers and buyers) meet,
- where industry executives discuss the future of the industry, and
- where drivers can show off their rigs.
You can find lists of the actual events in other locations online.
On this page, we will provide some tips for exhibitors and truck driver attendees for the purpose of helping everyone maximize time and save money.
Money Saving Tips for Exhibitors at Trucking Shows
As a general rule, exhibitors are at trucking shows
– to get visibility for one or more products or services,
– to land new paying customers, or
– to get repeat business (if possible).
If an exhibitor does a poor job of attracting clients, he/she/they will have wasted their money on buying booth space, sending staff or representatives and spending time during the event.
Exhibitors at trucking shows can greatly improve their chances of attracting potential clients (professional truck drivers and trucking companies) and turning them into paying customers if they will do the following things:
- Have an attractive booth that is well laid out.Unless you have a display case, be aware that putting a table between you and your potential customers could also represent a psychological barrier.Try to have your tables along the sides of your booth to “invite” customers in.Make sure that you have your most important and basic information printed on an at-a-glance display, including
– your company’s name,
– your business website (URL),
– your mission or goal, and
– how you achieve your mission or goal.Don’t make truckers guess what it is you do.
They won’t waste their time.
Make sure that your signs are easy to read at a distance with
– text in a font that is large enough, bold enough and easy-to-read;
– properly “justified” or “bulleted”;
– with good contrast against the background it’s on.
Compare, for example, these two signs with exactly the same information.
Which is easier to read? Why?
- Be able to explain (preferably show) a common problem that truckers have and how you fix it.Be prepared to answer questions that visitors have.
- If it meets your needs, have something in your booth that draws people in and makes them want to learn more.Show truckers their need (even though they may not realize they have one) and how you go about solving it.One incentive to draw professional truck drivers into booths at trucking shows is to offer give-aways.You decide on the freebies or discounts and then how you want to award those.(For example, we offer to list the freebies and discounts of exhibitors who have booths at the Mid America Trucking Show.)
Freebies and discounts can be large or small, but they should have a definite value and be usable.
- If possible, have a demonstration model of your product or service in your booth or space so that visitors can see, here and touch it.If attendees at trucking shows can get their hands on the model, they may be more inclined to buy.
- Have plenty of business cards and material for truckers to take away with them.It is unrealistic to engage every visitor or booth passerby in conversation at a large event.Putting info out will increase the likelihood that visitors will review the information and follow up later.If you have CDs or DVDs that show your product or service in action — instead of just inanimate brochures — so much the better.
- Have enough people in the booth at all times the event is going on so that potential customers’ questions can be answered.A big no-no is leaving a booth poorly staffed or unmanned during announced “open” hours of trucking shows.
- When it comes to answering questions, never ever fake an answer.If you don’t know the answer, just say you don’t know and offer to get the answer for them later.Make sure you have the person’s contact information for follow up.If your visitor is willing to wait a few minutes, perhaps you can make a phone call to get the information on the spot.
- If you plan to stand in your booth, make sure you wear comfortable shoes.The lady in this picture is wearing dress shoes with heels.Unless she has special shoes and she is used to standing for long periods of time, her feet will probably be sore and tired at the end of the day.
- Make sure you get a “release” for publishing a name or photo of prize winners so that you are covered legally.
- Some trucking shows may require attendees to pay to park on the grounds or premises.There are two different ways that this is handled:
– pay on the way in or
– pay on the way out.If attendees get a parking permit on the way in and pay on the way out, see if you can validate their parking permits to lower their costs to attend.(Every little bit saved helps.)
- Assuming there is ever a period when they can register for free, you can help attendees who didn’t register for free to save money by offering free tickets, VIP tickets or early admission to the show.
- Focus on one theme at a time in your booth.Don’t mix your message.This doesn’t mean that you have to sell only one product or service.But all of the products or services you showcase in a single trucking show booth should be centered on one theme.
- Offer your visitors a comfortable place to stand or sit.Anti-fatigue mats or carpet may help.Make sure that any chairs you provide can handle truckers in both size and weight.
- If you have the proper permit and/or license to do so, offer complimentary beverages and food.(This may require getting a booth with an electrical outlet.)Plan in advance for the number of expected visitors throughout the trucking show.Do not put all of your goodies on the table at the beginning of the day or event.Replenish your supply as needed.
- If you run an audio or video message, make sure that it is good quality, can be scheduled to run repeatedly, and can be heard without drowning out everything around it.
- Make sure you have the adequate insurance (liability) to cover anything you do in your booth.Eliminate tripping hazards in your booth.
- If you have an outside booth or expo area, prepare in advance for adverse weather.
– Wind? Have anchors on your paperwork.
– Rain or sun? Use a gazebo to block precipitation or sunburn.
Money Saving Tips for Truck Driver Attendees at Trucking Shows
From a buyer’s point of view, truck drivers attend trucking shows for completely different reasons than exhibitors.
Here is our list of tips for you.
- To maximize your time, have a map or layout of the trucking show or expo for the event you will attend.Mark which exhibitors whose booths you want to visit first and work out a route.Afterwards, you can visit booths of secondary importance and so forth.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes as preparation to do a lot of walking.If you’ll be outside, a cap can help shield your eyes.Also, if it is sunny or hot outside, protect yourself against sunburn and dehydration.
- Realize that most food at a fair or expo for sale by commercial vendors is very expensive.If you can, bring your own food and drink.Something non-perishable (like a peanut butter sandwich as opposed to a perishable egg salad sandwich) might work out best.
- If you have to eat at the show, do your body a favor by skipping the high fat, high sugar and/or high calorie offerings.Some people don’t consider their attendance at fairs is complete until they’ve had a funnel cake.You can spare your body the task of trying to ingest less healthy items if you substitute more healthy ones.
- If exhibitors are giving away free samples, don’t be afraid to “sample” what they’re giving away.(Don’t take too much.)
- If you will be taking a substantial amount of material with you — say, more than will fit in your pockets or a “belly pouch” — you can take with you a backpack, small rolling suitcase or catalog case. Save your back and your legs as much as possible.
- You may have to pay for truck parking or parking plus hook-up to run your truck.Don’t forget to get a receipt for whatever you pay for so you can declare eligible expenses on your taxes.Also, explore less expensive options of parking your truck and trailer.Is there a truck stop nearby where you can park and get a ride to the event?
- If you will not be sleeping in your truck, shop around for accommodations.Remember that in addition to getting commercial hotels for truckers, there are also opportunities to housesit or rent a room from private individuals.
- If you bring your rig to a show — such as for a truck beauty contest — watch your idling.See if you can cook in your truck as much as possible to save money.(See our Food and Recipes and Meal Preparation pages for ideas.)
- Do you plan to enter your truck in a beauty contest?Use good quality cleaning products but explore your options about saving money on them.
- Don’t forget to take a breather occasionally when you’ve been working hard to connect with exhibitors.Give yourself some time to “decompress.”Feel free to pick up information provided at the booths and look at it later.
- Resist the urge to buy high-priced items on the spur of the moment or get caught up in the “glamour” of new trucks or truck products.Give yourself some time to think through your purchases and research the product or service you’re considering buying versus those that are similar.Just because one manufacturer touts his product doesn’t mean that it is the best at what it does.Consider your money saving goals and think long-term.
- When you consider purchasing a product, consider how you will know whether or not it does what it is supposed to do.For example, if you add a device to your rig to enhance aerodynamics, have both “before” and “after” sets of numbers.The same thing goes with fuel additives, idling alternatives and other things.
- If you win a prize, freebie, discount or other give-away at one or more trucking shows, the exhibitor may want to take your photo.Because it is far better to be safe than sorry, ask in advance for their release form and understand in advance how and where they plan to use your photo and name.If they do not have one, you may search online for such things as a “photo release form,” “media release form” or just “release form.”
- If the set up at a particular trucking show requires getting a permit to park in a lot and then paying on the way out, see if an exhibitor will validate or stamp your parking permit to save you the cost of parking.At present, we’re not aware of any way to obtain reimbursement for parking on the way into an expo, fair, festival or show.If you do, please contact us.
- If you plan to get a free health screening of any kind at one or more trucking shows, know in advance what will happen to your collected personally identifiable information.You do not want this information falling into the wrong hands, especially if there is an indication that you may have a medical condition.You may be tempted to have measurements made such as for height, weight, neck size, calculation of your BMI (Body Mass Index), body fat percentage, blood pressure or other.Will these be written down?If so, where, by whom and where will it be used?
Can it ever be used against you?
Know in advance.
- If you decide to “try before you buy,” make sure you understand all of the terms and exactly by when you need to cancel (if necessary) before the first bill is charged.Also, if there is a product or service that is “free” for a limited amount of time, make sure you understand through what time period it is free.This is sort of like using a coupon through the expiration date.
- If you obtain a product with a rebate to be obtained later, make sure that you have all of the paperwork and UPC product codes you’ll need to apply for it.Do not forget to make a copy (perhaps a scanned image) of all of your paperwork in case the rebate material “gets lost in the mail” and the company attempts to cheat you out of the rebate you rightfully deserve and duly applied for.
- Protect your health when touching items designed to fit on your body — and especially your face — such as CPAP masks.Exhibitors may be aware of the need for this and clean items between users.But don’t take chances.Although it may be easier to carry around a small bottle of hand sanitizer, we urge you to wash your hands after touching items like this.
- Evaluate claims of any food, drink, supplement or health product carefully.It is generally true that one size does not fit all, meaning that different people experience different results when using these products.If you have a cell phone equipped to do research, you can search for information on the spot before you buy.Also, carefully weigh the impact of accepting anything by mouth or through your skin (such as an annual flu shot).
- If you plan to enter yourself or your rig into a prize drawing or contest, make sure you know ahead of time everything that is required to enter such as
– where you can get the registration form,
– how much it costs to enter (if a fee is charged), and
– the deadline by when entries must be submitted.
- Preparation in attending trucking shows is key.Take with you things that you may need during the course of the show such as a pad and pen, any prescriptions you need to take on a scheduled basis, etc.
- There may be many trucking companies recruiting new drivers at trucking shows.If you’re looking to make a change, you may want to go with a list of questions for recruiters and an up-to-date job history and MVR.
- Protect yourself from theft, both from pick-pockets and those who might try to enter your vehicle in your absence.
– Don’t flash large sums of money or flashy jewelry;
– Unless you plan to make a well-thought-out-in-advance purchase, consider leaving your credit cards locked up;
– Lock your vehicle when you’re not in it; and
– Store expensive items so that they cannot be seen from ground level through your truck’s windshield or windows.
We hope that these trucking show tips are helpful to exhibitors and truck drivers alike.
Because of the long hours when these shows are open, some attendees may enjoy using natural energizing products.