Walk the Floor - Trade Shows Are Your Friends
It’s not unusual to find me at a trade show – either walking the aisles of one of my industries trade shows or exhibiting or helping a client with their exhibit. A couple of weeks ago, I attended the regional promotional products trade show association's conference right here in San Diego. It's a smaller, quieter show than the large international one every January, so I got to really connect with some of my favorite vendors and even find a couple of interesting new ones!
What have I learned about attending trade shows after all these years?
- The number of people employed in any given industry who come to their industry trade shows as registered attendees (I call them “walkers”) is a small percentage.
- The people who do attend these trade shows are usually either brand new to the industry or are the cream of the crop and value the opportunities presented for professional growth.
- Valuable connections can be made not only with vendors who are exhibiting, but with “competitors” who are attending. I know how much I appreciate the opportunities I have at my trade shows to meet in person with the mastermind group that I participate in via e-mail all year long. Their insights, tips and tricks have been invaluable to me over the years, as I hope some of mine have been to them.
- The educational opportunities that exist at most trade shows is a great way to gain knowledge in all aspects of running your business sometimes at little to no cost. These sessions are where we remember what we already knew, but forgot to implement or have the opportunity to delve into topics that we normally wouldn't have the time for.
I don’t know any industry that doesn’t have trade shows of some sort – from local to regional to national to international. If you are interested in learning what is new or coming for your trade, making connections with vendors, and/or networking with the movers and shakers in your industry, a trade show is the place to be.