Effective Trade Show Strategies (Conclusion)

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(Image credit: Alissa Ausmann)

“The Clean Show is next month, and I’m excited to attend for the first time. How do you prepare for the show, or any trade show? What strategies can I use to get the most out of my investment?”

Textiles: Steve Kallenbach, ADI American Dawn, Los Angeles, Calif.

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Steve Kallenbach

Steve Kallenbach

The Clean Show is our industry’s largest trade show, and it takes place every two years.

Typically, the show’s attendance is a barometer of the state of our industry, centered around the review and purchase of new equipment (capital expenditures) by operators. The show rotates in location (among several U.S. cities), and this year we’ll meet in Las Vegas. 

Several factors suggest that the 2017 Clean Show will be a highly attended, largely successful show for our industry. First, we are clearly out of our recent recession. The year 2016 was a decent one for most in growth, and a very good year in profit, suggesting that it’s a good time to reinvest in buildings and equipment—a great sign for Clean Show attendance.

Secondly, for whatever obvious or not so obvious reason, big trade shows in Las Vegas typically get the biggest attendance. Let’s face it, Las Vegas is a draw, maybe for the fine dining or the entertainment or even the gambling. Perhaps it’s for the fact that most realize these are bigger shows, with more action, more booths, bigger equipment showings and just plain more excitement.

A final note on attendance is that there are simply more operators at the shows in Las Vegas, and operators can expect to share synergies in their meetings and seminars. Regardless of motivation, it is clearly a great year to plan to attend.

So, what does one prepare to see? Everything. First, get the directory and floor map, and look through it before entering the show. Highlight all of the booths that might apply to your business. Look at equipment that you might need (even if you aren’t ready to buy anything). Look at textile, chemical and other suppliers that are relevant to your operation, even if you don’t use them at present.

You’ll be surprised at what you might see in new, innovative products and ideas. This show is where suppliers bring their “new” and most popular products, and they bring most of their key personnel. Once you highlight the must-see booths, the journey starts. My suggestion is to start in one corner and walk every single aisle, looking at every booth along the way. You’ll know when it’s right to walk into a booth that’s new to you. 

With the process of pre-planning your must-see booths and the practice of walking by every single booth, you’ll most surely walk away with exceptional knowledge of the industry, the newest of new, possible new relationships and a better view of our future as an industry. 

Plan to attend at least one or two seminars that have meaning to your operation. Whether it’s the content of the meeting or the synergy of discussing the topics with your contemporaries, these are valuable investments in your time and future.  zithromax online

As a supplier, I always walk the entire show on the final day. The crowds are not as big, and it’s a great time to catch up with friends, alliances and even to honor competitors. If I were an operator, I would walk the show early on and make notes of where I want to return for deeper analysis. I’d then attend my educational seminars and pre-planned meetings during the second day of the show. 

The remaining days, I’d take my time and go back to my planned targets, where I could have meaningful conversations with key or target suppliers. 

This show is about taking it all in and certainly looking for ways to lower your costs. But it’s also about looking for ways to increase your top line—to sell more. 

My final word of advice is to approach the show with a completely open mind. Try to set aside your presupposed opinion on certain equipment and textiles, and listen to what is being shown and said about these products. This strategy will work for trade shows in general, and certainly for Clean. 

Here’s to a fantastic 2017 Clean Show and a great year in our industry.

Consulting Services: Jon Witschy, Spindle, Woodridge, Ill.

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Jon Witschy

Jon Witschy

I look forward to trade shows as one-stop shopping to visit current customers, to reach out and identify new connections, and to network.  

I also find shows inspiring. Everyone is bringing their “A” game and usually rolling out the latest and greatest technology. I know at Spindle, we view the Clean Show as a key event and look forward to exciting our current customers and wowing new ones. 

To ensure that you don’t miss anything, I recommend that both operators and my fellow exhibitors check out the Clean Show website and make a plan for the booths you wish to visit.  

Schedule meetings with the vendors of interest, to ensure that someone is available when you arrive and has an idea of what you want to see or—using their knowledge and expertise—what they should demonstrate for you.  

Arrange plenty of “transition time” between meetings: discussions may run over time, and the Clean Show floor can be a big area to cover when getting from one booth to the next. On that note, make sure you wear your walking shoes, too.

I hope everyone has a valuable experience at the Clean Show. 

Healthcare Laundry: Charles Loelius, Cleantex, Irvington, N.J.

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Charles Loelius

Charles Loelius

As the 2017 Clean Show in Las Vegas fast approaches, it is certainly a good time to ask the question, “What is the benefit of attending a trade show, and how does one prepare for attending?”

There are many advantages to attending a trade show. While the cost of attending is certainly an issue, as it will generally entail travel, lodging, meals and registration fees, attendance at a trade show can provide the following advantages:

  1. Gain exposure and awareness of new industry products, ideas and trends. 
  2. Learn what is happening within the industry, particularly as it applies to competitors.
  3. Participate in seminars, networking and surveys. You can never have too much information.
  4. Rekindle professional relationships. You can never have too many friends and contacts.
  5. Team building. Bringing your team to a trade show is a great way to enhance their knowledge and keep them motivated while giving you the opportunity to get to know them in a non-stressful environment.
  6. Fun. Yes, have some fun. Everyone deserves a break from the day-to-day stresses that the laundry industry so generously bestows on us all.

As far as preparing for attending a trade show, advance preparation should include making appointments and procuring a trade show floor map and a schedule. The size of trade shows requires advance preparation to take maximum advantage.

See you at the Clean Show.

Miss Part 1? Click here to read trade show advice from workwear, long-term care laundry and chemical supply experts.

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