Is this your first time exhibiting at the National Hardware Show?

No matter how many months of planning you put into it, when the first day of the National Hardware Show arrives, even the most prepared exhibitor can feel unprepared. With big crowds, high energy, and competing companies, it’s easy to lose sight of your goals.

Go Green Rain Barrels, a start-up company that manufactures rain barrel kits, exhibited for the first time at the 2016 National Hardware Show. Lyn, who represented the company at the Show, provided the 5 tips she wished she knew before the Show started.

1. Flash V. Substance

You don’t need a fancy booth, a catchy slogan and a slick marketing campaign, although that can be fun and demonstrate you’re ready for prime time. All you really need is a good product at a good price that solves a problem for someone. The industry professionals who are at the National Hardware Show looking for new products know what they’re doing and what they’re looking for. They are really good at sorting through to find the diamonds.” – Lyn, Go Green Rain Barrels

It’s true—all you need to succeed at the National Hardware Show is a great product. However, how you market that product & your company leading up to the Show will impact your success too.

Market your company & products to pre-registered attendees before the Show even starts by updating your company listing in the Exhibitor Dashboard. Attendees use this information to search & save the exhibitors & products they want to visit in My Show, their free online planning tool.

Plus—we’re recommending your company & products to attendees based on the product categories they’re looking for, by matching them with the product categories you offer. Select your product categories in the Exhibitor Dashboard so that your company & products are accurately recommended to attendees before the Show.

The Exhibitor Dashboard will be available in the next few months.

2. Get out Front

I believe we have a great product and I wanted everyone to know about it. I instinctively stood out in front of our booth and engaged with people. My partner has experience with this stuff and told me I was out there “working it”. When I had a few minutes to walk around, it was obvious what companies were truly invested and who had just sent an employee to be at the booth. Some employees sat behind their table with their nose buried in their iPhone!“ – Lyn, Go Green Rain Barrels

What will make attendees stop and talk to you, and what can you do to attract attendees to your booth display? Read the Helpful Hints we’ve put together to help you prepare >>

3. Channel Leader Program

“Everyone is wearing a badge with a designation of exhibitor, manufacturer, importer, retailer and probably a dozen others. A mysterious designation was “Channel Leader” for a big box store that we really wanted to get in with, so I asked him what that meant… – Lyn, Go Green Rain Barrels

Channel Leaders are the top retailers & distributors in the industry, with a buying title and/or buying influence, representing big names such as Ace Hardware Corporation, Amazon, The Home Depot, Costco, Wal-Mart Stores and many more!

As a new exhibitor, you have the unique opportunity to connect with Channel Leader buyers through the Rewards Program, where Channel Leader members visit new exhibitors within their product categories to learn more about their products or services.

What’s in it for them? They get rewarded based on the connections they make, and get to discover new brands & products at the Show.

So, if you see someone at your booth with a red badge that says Channel Leader, be sure to take time to speak with them and educate them about your products.

4. Inventors Spotlight

The energy in Inventors Spotlight is palpable. Inventors are interested in inventions: we asked about each other’s ideas and cheered each other on as we presented our products to the shark tank. We were heartened by the number of other people like us who had had the courage to go for their dream, and got plenty of traffic and interest from attendees looking for new products. It was a blast! – Lyn, Go Green Rain Barrels

Inventors Spotlight gives the industry an inside look at what may be the next big product on the market. As an inventor in this area, you’re given the chance to pitch your products or services to a number of panels consisting of buyers and potential investors to receive feedback. Your product or service is also eligible to win different awards, which you could use to help push your product to market.

Learn more about Inventors Spotlight opportunities here >>

5. Shark Tank & Additional Exposure Opportunities

There’s an opportunity in Inventors Spotlight to demonstrate your product to a panel of experts and investors in a Shark Tank format. Go for it! Every inventor gets 5 minutes in front of the panel and got great feedback and in many cases an investment or partner for their product. Have your elevator pitch down and then elaborate. Be prepared to answer questions.– Lyn, Go Green Rain Barrels

As a new exhibitor at the National Hardware Show, we want to help get you the most product exposure possible. Take a look at all the opportunities available to you:

  • Product Review and Vetting:  Product Review & Vetting gives exhibitors the opportunity to have their product privately reviewed & vetted by Top Buyers from some of the industry’s largest Retailers, Hardware Co-ops and major Wholesaler/Distributors.
  • DIY Network Product Submission: DIY Network will be filming at the National Hardware Show, and your product could be chosen for the special National Hardware Show episode of the hit television show I Want That.
  • Presidents Council Buying Days:  Presidents Council Buying Days at the National Hardware Show enable you to arrange exclusive face-to-face meetings with buyers from ACE, CNRG, Jensen, Lancaster, MHC and more who are looking for new & innovative products in the hardware, tools and lawn & garden categories.
  • Pitch the Experts Panels: Present your products and receive feedback from industry leaders and decision makers.
  • QVC Sprouts Product Search: Pitch your product to a panel of QVC experts to possibly become the next big product on the market.
  • The Grommet Product Search: The Grommet is a product launch platform that discovers innovative consumer products.
  • U.S. Patent & Trademark Office: Gain insight on applying for or getting a better understanding of applying for a patent for your product or service.

For more information on the programs that are available to increase your product and brand exposure, click here >>

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National Hardware Show

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