Trade shows in a lot of ways are like job interviews. You’re looking to impress hopeful future clients and customers. You wouldn’t dress down or in questionable clothing at a job interview. A great way to lose out on closing a sale or gaining a lead is by looking unprofessional and giving off the wrong impression based on how you’re dressed.
Set a Dress Code
The lead sales or booth worker can set this or it can come directly from the company. Everyone should be dressing in the same attire for the occasion in either business casual, business professional, or company branded clothing.
What to Consider When Packing Your Suitcase
You should pack for specific parts of your trip as you won’t be at the trade show the entire time.
Travel: Something professional in case other people on your flight or trip are headed to the same show. Arriving looking like you are there to do business doesn’t hurt.
Show time: Pack clothes to follow the set dress code; company branded polos or button down shirts, dress clothes. Pack extra just in case. Anything can happen when you work a long shift at a trade show booth.
Leisure/networking time: For dinners, mixers or off the floor activities, you still want to appear professional but relaxed. Depending on the activity, your attire might vary but have something comfortable and casual yet professional.
Dress Code Etiquette to Consider
- Shoes – Clean, shined shoes are a must, but avoid new shoes. New shoes (especially high heels for women) can be very uncomfortable if you haven’t worn them for hours at a time already.
- Match – Mainly, make sure your belt matches your shoes and your colors match.
- Accessories – Be conscious of how many accessories you’re wearing like earrings and other jewelry. Most companies have a policy for piercings and jewelry. Making a connection or trying to close a sale might be a lot more difficult with distracting piercings and jewelry.
- Cologne/Perfume – Go easy on the cologne/perfume. This should be self explaintory.
- Pockets – Yes, you want them. You’re not going to be wearing cargo pants, but you’ll need pockets to hold business cards, brochures and pens among other things.
- Pack cleaning accessories – Tide bleach sticks and other items that can quickly clean clothes up in case of spills over lunch, etc.
Final Dress Code Tips to Consider
- Hands – No, it’s not clothing related, but you’re likely going to be shaking hands with many potential (hopeful) customers. Make sure your nails are trimmed, clean and you have plenty of hand sanitizer available at your booth.
- Fit in – While it’s true you can never be overdressed and you want to stand out from the crowd, if you and your booth staff are in suits and business attire and everyone else is in polos or other casual gear, you might stick out like a sore thumb. It’s always good to gauge the style of the show and your peers if you can before being under or overdressed.