Creating Efficiency: Make the Most of Tradeshow Visits

Tradeshows offer excellent opportunities for you to learn more about
numerous new or improved products and services tailor-made for
community association managers. Even if you are not looking to buy
right away, tradeshows are a quick, efficient way to stay abreast of
industry trends and new technology.

Make the most of these avenues for achieving growth. Too many
attendees meander through the aisles, hoping to spot something of
interest. Dazzled by the colorful displays and the sheer volume of
information, they lose focus and stumble through without gaining any
real benefit.

Start with a Plan

Often, registration packets at conventions include a tradeshow
brochure. Back in your room or some other quiet spot, you can then
start making your list of “must-see” exhibits. If the brochure
includes a floorplan, mark these exhibits to create a personalized map
to guide you. Otherwise, write the names of the most promising
exhibitors, their booth numbers, possible questions and other
reminders on a legal pad.

If the brochure is unavailable until the tradeshow opens, avoid
heading immediately to the show floor. Take a few minutes to pull
together your roadmap.

However, if you already know what you want to see as soon as the show
begins, consider heading straight to the back or the far side of the
floor. That way, you may be able to avoid crowds and command the
personal attention of vendors.

In addition to learning about intriguing companies you have never
before done business with, your map should also include your old
favorites. You may discover ways to better use products you already
have purchased.

Realizing the importance of tradeshows, top executives often station
themselves at their exhibits. Their conversations with customers or
prospects give them ideas for new or improved products and services.

Although you should plan on stopping by every exhibit on your list,
stay open to new possibilities. As with vacations, the unexpected
encounters often result in the most pleasant memories. You may even
learn valuable information in a brief chat with fellow attendees along
the way.

As you go, write brief notes to yourself about noteworthy aspects of
the exhibitors or possible actions to take later. Several words on the
back of a business card may be all it takes to refresh your memory
once you have returned to your office.

Keep in Touch

If you are interested in a company, feel free to leave behind your
business card. Sometimes, you may end up entering a drawing for a
prize in the process. However, you should think twice before filling
out an entry form or using your card for a drawing if you have
absolutely no plans to do business with a company.

You can expect to receive phone calls, direct mail or e-mails in the
weeks following the show. Who knows? You may even have won that prize.
But you also may be a winner by learning of new special offers from a
company that had already piqued your interest at the tradeshow.

If salespeople call you, remember how hospitable their companies
treated you at the tradeshow. Try to return that kindness. Remember,
they are only doing their job. You may be pleased to discover they
have done their homework and know a great deal about your company or
community and its needs.

Keep an open mind before saying, “I’m not interested.” However, if you
decide after reviewing the product literature or discussing the
company with your colleagues that you truly are not interested, you
can do yourself and the salesperson a favor by trying to keep the call
short and sweet.

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