With the biggest industry event of the year now just a few weeks away, a 2010 LCT Operator of The Year advises attendees on how to get the most out of your trade show dollars.
RED BANK, N.J. — Trade shows….Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they should be an important event in your life as a business owner or manager. You get to see new products, renew old friendships, learn about industry trends, and develop a network of professional colleagues.
However, trade shows are a lot like love, life, and the stock market: How much you get out of them depends on how much you put into them.
Here are a few lessons (learned the hard way) about how to get the absolute most from your trade show.
Trade Show Tip No. 1: Get Prepared:
Go with a plan. Smart operators go to shows organized, focused, and ready to work the show like a pro! Review last year’s sales statistics. Information from the past gives you the ability to make smart, well-informed decisions for the future.
Analyze what worked last year, what didn’t, and why. Decide which categories are opportunities for next year, where you are missing key items, and where you need to try something completely new.
Talk to your staff and your best customers about what kinds of new ways of doing things they'd like you to look for.
Trade Show Tip No. 2: Know Where to Go
Get a map of the show floor plan and find all the vendors you want to spend extra time with. Plan your route. Decide how much of the show you need to see each day and work accordingly — don’t get stuck having to see half the show in the last three hours.
Trade Show Tip No. 3: Appointments Save Time
Make appointments ahead of time with your top vendors so you won't have to wait around until they are free. Plan (write it down!) what you want to discuss with each vendor — improved terms, customer service problems from last year, items you would like to see them add/change for the future, etc.
This may be the best time to see who you may want to start a relationship with other affiliates.
Be prepared. Enjoy the 2011 INTERNATIONAL LCT SHOW.
— Bill Atkins, owner, RED BANK LIMO, Red Bank, N.J.