What do you look for in a Trade Show?

Do you attend Trade Shows?
Why do you Go?
What would you like to see?
Do you listen to the speakers?

Tell me what’s working and what isn’t.


I look at the speakers and events. I love to walk the floor to see what new products are out and available


What sort of speakers do you look for?

Application/Patient stories/Dosing

What are your favorite shows?

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I like to listen to policy, marketing, sales and technologies. Mj Biz is already great and NCIA is decent, been to a few others that were dead and not worth my time. In my opinion the networking is amazing, but thats usually at the after party events.


Does tits n ass increase a companies chances of selling you something at a show?


Personally I like the tech and sales side.


Free stuff is always great also


Technique and Policy.


This site has badges that they award. This post is an attempt for longest out of industry post badge…but trade shows are trades shows…

I attended trade shows as an engineer for an Oregon company that produced spendy gear for the wood products industry up there in the PDX convention center many times. For vendors it is a pain in the butt and spendy to put on those displays. Grueling sort of work with an eversmile pasted on your face irregardless of how tired you are as a rep for the company…lolz.

In my experience trade show attendees fall into four distinct categories that ALL must be handled well to pull the show off and see downstream sales. The four groups are;

  1. Individuals with purchasing power and money attending to make a purchase decision.
  2. Individuals with no purchasing power attending at the request of their employer in hopes the experience will benefit by seeing how things work outside the shop.
  3. Competitors, either incognito or openly and “in uniform”, who are eager to observe every possible detail and ask every possible question to see what they can learn that they did not already know and to learn how to market against your weaknesses.
  4. The spouses and kids of all of the above who frankly can easily take up 60% of the time during display hours because they are bored stiff and engage just about anything out of boredom.

In the Wood products industry trade shows I attended thusly as a machinery engineer for my company one trade show can and does easily cement decades long business relationships and a simple handshake and smile at the right time and straight shooting talk can result in a phone call weeks later resulting in seven figure sales of machinery just to get things started along that path. Our strategy was to look at the show as a chance to cement very long term relationships and not just sales numbers a week following the show.

If you carefully deal with each group mentioned as a vendor and do it with style it is like planting a seed. It will grow. I know specific techniques and they are simple and common sense but my suggestion is to have a plan to deal with each group in a way that makes them feel special. Make competitors your friends and keep them as close as you can… but take them to coffee and chow AWAY from your gear. Then see what they talk about when they are feeding… heheehee. A full tummy loosens lips, right? Bring things as token gifts for the other groups too and make sure the first group is treated like the golden goose they are.

Finally… take it from an old man with many miles dealing with this sort of thing… make sure you make an effort that day of the trade show to brush your teeth, put deodorant on, and change out your socks… Take a shower mid day at the show on break and ALWAYS look clean, fresh, and energetic. Avoid debasing your product with excessive cleavage or leg or mini skirts. This is done ALL the time in wood products shows but I suggest staying above that sort of thing. Never EVER be drunk or hung over and dismiss those from your booth who are. Never ever run down your competitor by name or at all, instead deferring to only positive speak about your products strengths as a way to point out their weaknesses but let the customer make that connection.

Last but not least, if in Oregon at a 420 trade show and an old guy with blue eyes and with a worn walking staff in sandals asks about your product and… get him high on your best stuff and he might share some back. That is absolutely critical because this guy I have in mind is in a category by himself…:nerd_face:


Well put!

I honestly just get the VIP packages and attend the after parties, looking to network and socialize with industry movers and shakers. I’ll be at a European cannabis trade show next week, and I have been invited to be a speaker at MJBizCon in Vegas.

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I love all 4 of your groups and one thing that I have always appreciated about Trade Shows is that it is a chance to kick the tires on the competitors’ equipment and see those amazing features that you have been selling against. I was so surprised at my first industry show when I was asked to leave a competitor’s booth because I was “Sneaking a peek”. I introduced myself and was very up front and friendly as I would have been at Semi-Con, Pittcon, ACS, LPA -industry shows that I was used to. It is really pretty standard practice to visit the competition’s booth and for them to do likewise. In my experience, all of those folks are colleagues at the end of the day and likely will be changing form one company to the next. Today’s competitor may be tomorrow’s coworker.

The Cannabis industry still has a tendency to silo information and there is not such always a warm, professional approach from competitors. I think that will fade as the industry continues into the mainstream.

Even in the squarest of square realms like aerospace and big pharma there are always the trade show drinkers. I have been in a booth with a hangover and it is the least fun thing ever. That being said, I appreciate your sensibility about that.

I mixed some business with pleasure at a recent show and brought along my two adult daughters and husband. We had a vigorous conversation with a drunk pup who was couldn’t seem to keep his hands off of one of my girls. The next morning I made a point to swing by his booth. He was ready to sell me on his product until I said “We met last night”. He immediately said “Did I do something horrible last night? So sorry if I did”. Wow. To know that you don’t know what you were up to but it was probably “Horrible” is a terrible way to live, much less do business. I hope that for him both personally and professionally that he can reel that in sooner rather than later.


I bet a tiny horizontal kugelrohr bulb setup that was pulling out terps alongside the sublimator producing the high purity stuff would make a GREAT crowd draw and it runs without monitoring or fiddling. Then with a water clear but barely pale yellow isolate they see you casually remove by adding hot water to look at and drool over… it would be a great magnet irregardless of what your main product was because it looks very cool when the pure layer forms on the cold finger with no gas or flow at all. It just appears slowly.

This spurs a question which would of course pop up at a show if you demonstrated the tiny pilot rig like I use horizontally;

Why has no commercial operation adopted a horizontal configuration for distillation? What issue is involved when processing large volumes of crude preclude doing this? The reduced heat involved with a horizontal transfer of gas is substantially lower. Cross contamination of fractions is zero because the distillate path is removed between fractions - a huge bonus. I would definitely have an answer practiced for this one lolz but honestly at the moment I am not sure myself.

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I am very limited in how far I can travel. Oregon has yet to adopt soft human safe pavement and the last few times I got slapped down onto it there was snapping and popping sounds inside me. I am out of the wheelchair now by a few years but still stick close to home.

If you want to stop by during a show here in Eugene then drop me a line. I can run some fresh off the cold finger dabs of pure and trust me when I say that straight off the cold finger out of vacuum is a unique experience that has a bit of a “bite” to the flavor sensation that goes away pretty fast. Fresh is fresh and I do enjoy it better long term a little aged but fresh is a lot of fun. Much less stoney than you might think and focuses the mind.

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In regards to allowing folks to see the details of your machinery designs (often new designs at a show) the industrial “espionage” that happens at a machinery show is absolutely brutal. We always had a plan for those guys too. The tip off is when they start taking down notes of some kind and you have no idea who they are and they do not intro themselves.

We had three guys very well rehearsed that smiling as best friends would casually place themselves between the machinery and the person in question and offer a whole bunch of help answering questions all the while making sure line of sight was blocked. Then they are directed and led towards the printed sales literature down at the end of the table and that tips them off in a courteous way without confrontation that they will not benefit further.

Let me share some aviation history in this regard. Do you know what the first stealth aircraft technology was used for? It was to prevent competition from gathering fine details of the construction of the aircraft. Want to guess who did it?.. The Wright Brothers. The first ones to fly a powered airplane and live.

They had millions of folks wanting to learn their secrets so they would compete with them. At the time the most common (or only) way to get good still photos like for the newspaper was to use film than that had some sort of silver substrate. It was considered black and white film. It was known at the time that anything painted that same silver color would have virtually zero detail distinguishable after the film was processed and printed.

So they painted the key structures that took them so long to figure out with silver based paint. The very first stealth tech lolz. My point is that mankind is always willing to rip off your ideas for their own benefit and it is funny to me how the engineering types push back.