I am preparing to head to a regional trade show for promotional product consultants next week. It is one of two trade shows that I attend each year.
In this day and age of finding everything online, having an amazing search engine dedicated to the promotional products industry, and even an online trade show, why do I take time out of the office and money out of my bottom line to attend? (Not to mention the aching feet and back at the end of the day.)
Attending a trade show, whether it is a local tabletop show, a regional show, or a national convention is one of the best ways to get professional development and forge relationships.
Most trade shows offer some sort of educational component. In many cases, this can be the route to professional accreditation. In my case, I am working towards my CAS ( Certified Advertising Specialist). I will sit for the exam in January at the other trade show I attend. (Wish me luck!)
The educational offerings are a great way to learn about what’s new in your industry, to brush up on any rusty skills, and to find out about new and impending legislation that could impact the way you do business. Whether a professional accreditation is involved or not, professional development is the way to stay at the top of your game so you can offer the most value to your clients.
As for forging relationships, a trade show gives you the opportunity to put a face to the person you’ve only dealt with over the phone or via e-mail. It allows you to meet people who face the same types of challenges you have in business and to share ideas with them. How about meeting a new supplier that you might never have known existed? You never know when a current supplier will drop the ball, or a client will need something that you might not know how to source – meeting new suppliers and making the right contacts at a trade show might just help you save a sale gone wrong or make a new customer for life!
Look into the trade shows offered in your industry and make a commitment to attend at least one each year. The business you save may be your own!