Trade show season is fast coming upon us. Mido is a few weeks away. Vision Expo is less than 2 months away. And there are MANY smaller regional or state sponsored shows throughout the spring selling season.
Why do we all visit trade shows? To see new products? To buy new products? To efficiently work with our current partners? To get necessary education credits? Because we have been doing it for years? An excuse to travel?
While trade shows can be challenging, as they’re expensive to attend and take away valuable time from the office/practice, they can also be very effective as part of an overall buying strategy IF planned and managed properly. Here are a few things to consider when planning and then visiting a trade show:
- LOOK: Take time to walk around and actually see the trade show. If you have wall-to-wall appointments at a show you may find you did not really feel like you attended a show…. You just had meetings that could have been held anywhere. Try planning a half a day with NO appointments or scheduled commitments. Just walk around and look and talk to people. You never know what you might see or learn or who you might meet.
- LEARN: Take some classes on topics that interest you – and always take a business/merchandising class to learn about the newest ideas and trends in the industry.
- TALK: Make sure to always meet new people and vendors and see new collections. You may not have time back at the office so a trade show is a great place to make time and see that new collection you had heard about, or meet the vendor who has been calling you with an intriguing new idea or new collection.
- OBSERVE: I hate to succumb to trade show psychology, but see what booths are busy. There is usually a reason. The booth may not be for you but you should at least know what “all the fuss is about”.
- ASK: Ask your patients and staff in advance what they feel is missing from your current offerings.
- STUDY: In advance of a trade show, make sure to do some planning and research. Aside from the above, make sure to set the appointments you know you need to make, make sure to research new brands or collections in advance (so you have an idea of what you want to see live and in person), and make sure to leave time for all the above ideas as well.
Is this something with which you have experience? Please share! Thank you.