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Why Attend DJ Conventions?




 Why Attend DJ Conventions

According to many attendees a visit to the exhibit halls offers the unique opportunity to see the offerings of hundreds of vendors in one place, to discuss products and equipment in a hands-on manner and to speak with the managers and technicians that stand behind products in addition to company sales representatives. Where else but in an exhibit hall can a person see products that are much too large to be brought to an individual business and then have the luxury of comparing several vendors? Where else will the attendee be able to see and touch the latest products and supplies and have knowledgeable folks at hand to immediately answer questions?
Attendance at trade shows is essential for those who want to keep abreast of the fast-paced changes that continually shape the scope of their business. Every year there is a 20% change in how suppliers do business, above and beyond changes in product lines. These changes range from new technology to new materials to changes in sales representatives. People who attend trade shows have the opportunity to become acquainted with these changes first-hand plus the added bonus of being able to network with their colleagues about the various vendors and offerings presented.

Your Business Plan
Rather than view the exhibits as an added benefit of attending a seminar or conference, consider trade shows as unique and separate learning opportunities in their own right. Plan and budget for trade show attendance as part of your annual business plan and consider the benefits of having one or more of your staff attend. They can provide a fresh perspective on products they will use and, with some pre-show preparation, can help you cover more of the sales floor in a shorter period of time.

To make wise consumer decisions about which exhibits to visit, keep an ongoing list of information needs throughout the year. This list can include new products that you have read about and would like to see, needs that arise that are not being met by existing products and supplies and problems that need resolution. After identifying your needs, you can network with colleagues to determine the most appropriate exhibits to attend.

Buyer/Seller Relationship
Exhibitors attend trade shows to sell; you attend to gather information and make purchases. And, while wise vendors recognize that information-sharing is a necessary step in the sales process, it is the wise consumer's responsibility to ensure that adequate information is obtained from a variety of sources before the final purchase decision is made.

Pre-show preparation is the best way to ensure that your agenda as a buyer is first and foremost served. When a person enters an exhibit hall unprepared, it is easy to be enticed by the give-aways, the contests and any hard-sell tactics. With a planned course of action tailored to meet your needs, it is much easier to maintain your sales resistance and side-step sellers' agendas until your needs have been met.

To make wise purchases, buyers must look beyond promotions which focus on one aspect, such as price or innovation. The lowest price is not the best price if in getting the lowest price something important has to be sacrificed. Ask for references and ask that those references include customers who have needed service. It is surprising just how much information will surface with the vendor at trade shows. It's the best place to obtain candid opinions.

Plan Your Day
Many professionals spend more time preparing for a trip to the shopping mall than a visit to an exhibit hall. Before entering an exposition, review your ongoing list of information needs and identify four or five "must see" exhibitors. An important second step is to structure several questions for each exhibitor in advance. Thoughtful questions indicate a serious customer and may afford you more time and attention from a sales representative in addition to prompting the information you need.

Some attendees use highlighters to color code booths on a floor map into "must see" and "would like to see" categories. If you're attending a trade show with a colleague or staff member, compare agendas in advance and look for opportunities to share information from "would like to see" exhibits. Take advantage of the "golden hours," the first hour the show is open and the last hour before it closes. Exhibit halls are less crowded during the golden hours, and opportunities are greater for handling products and questioning sales representatives.

The busy nature of a trade show often makes it difficult for sales representatives to spend long periods of time with individual clients. To make the most of the time you and the representative have on the trade show floor, phone the vendor in advance to express your interest in a given product and to identify your information needs. The sales representative may be able to schedule an appointment with you, or at the very least, prepare the information you need in advance so that it is ready for you when you arrive. Do your part by arriving on time and keeping the discussion focused on the business at hand.

Network, Network, Network
Equal in value to the information generated by those who exhibit is the information generated by those who attend. Your colleagues are fellow consumers and their opinions and experiences can help you make decisions about the shows you'll attend and the products and vendors you'll consider.

Upon entering the exhibit hall, look for colleagues that are exiting the show. The cost of having a cup of coffee with a colleague who has seen the show can be a good investment in the time you'll spend on the floor. Discuss your information needs with your colleague, request a review of the show's highlights from his or her perspective and ask, "What exhibit should I be sure not to miss?"

Trade shows also provide an opportunity for you to tell vendors and the show's organizers about your needs, opinions and experiences. Smart buyers know as much about what they do not buy as they do about what they buy. Your input can result in products and services that better meet the needs of your profession.

When returning home, be sure to share the information you've gathered with your staff and peers. The interest and enthusiasm you communicate to your colleagues helps ensure that you'll be a grape on the vine when new products are discussed or new shows are planned.

Come Equiped
Regardless of the amount of time you plan to spend at the exhibit hall, enter the show with your priorities in order and your goals streamlined. You may want to note key questions or areas of interest directly on your program or floor map for easy reference.

Travel lightly, avoiding the urge to pick up samples and literature from every booth, until your "must see" business has been completed. Use business cards for drawing entries and to leave messages for sales representatives. Wear a watch and budget your time as you work your way through your agenda and the exhibit hall. Be determined to achieve your mission but not inflexible. If sales representatives are busy at a "must see" booth, move on and return later. If impromptu discussions or demonstrations arise on products important to you, take time to listen and participate.

If you have more than one opportunity to "walk" the show, make notes after your first visit. List the booths you still need to see and any you want to revisit. Revise your questions and concerns in light of the new information you've gained.

Be Assertive
A chief complaint made by business people who attend trade shows is that sales representatives often sell to individuals rather than to groups. At a busy exhibit, this can mean that an attendee must wait, unacknowledged, while the sales representative completes a one-on-one presentation for another attendee.

Though Americans are taught from an early age not to interrupt, there are ways to assertively and tactfully join a conversation. Stand close to the parties and interject a brief statement, such as, "I'm really interested in [product] - do you mind if I listen in?" Both attendees benefit from hearing the questions, comments and concerns of the other, and the sales representative benefits from addressing two possible buyers in one presentation.

Being an assertive consumer also means respecting the value of your time and guarding how it is spent on the sales floor. By identifying priority exhibits, you are better able to avoid sales representatives who pitch leading questions, such as, "thousands of dollars each year, would you be interested?" Whenever cornered by a sales representative forcing his or her agenda, state your interest and move on if he or she fails to respond.

High-pressure, "today only" deals can be enticing, but be sure you have the information you need about the product, competitive offerings and the vendor before committing. If you must turn down an offer due to lack of information, you may be able to revive it later by stating, "Yesterday, you offered me [product] at [price]. Can you still honor that today?"

Take Advantage Of Extras
The design of an exposition offers some unique benefits to attendees. These benefits include the ability to comparison shop among dozens of competing vendors; the opportunity to handle new products and supplies; and the chance to see and test products too large or cumbersome to be brought to the office. These benefits also include the opportunity to see new innovations before they hit the mass market. Trade shows really are a showcase for brand new products, technologies and new trends in a fashion. There are many new products that are held back for launches at trade shows.

Take advantage of the opportunity to speak with technicians and designers who are directly involved in the formation of new product lines.

Other trade show extras include special events, promotions and incentives that encourage attendance and sales on the floor. Free training seminars, workshops and seminars can be great opportunities to network with colleagues who have similar interests and vendor-sponsored parties provide an enjoyable social outlet free of selling pressures. Attendees have the opportunity to enter a multitude of drawings for a variety of interesting prizes; however, attendees may want to be selective in their participation since the information provided on the entry usually becomes part of a list for future mailings or telephone solicitations.

Make The Rounds
Making multiple trips around the exhibit hall is a time management technique to ensure your priorities are met up front. A buyer should walk a show four times - - if not physically, then mentally.

With the first rounds devoted to your "must see" and "would like to see" exhibits, the third round can be a leisurely tour exposing you to new products and services and affording you time to speak with vendors and colleagues.

To maximize the benefits of trade show attendance, take immediate action upon returning to your office. If you've made any deals on the sales floor, you may need to follow up with a sales representative to provide specific information on quantities and to reconfirm delivery instructions. You'll also want to record the names of any new contacts you've made, those of both exhibitors and peers.

Take a few moments to go through your collection of literature, sorting information into four piles: one on which you'll take action, one that will be saved for future reference/reading, another that will be passed along to other colleagues and the last for materials to be discarded. Put any samples to use immediately.

Continue incorporating trade show attendance into your business plan. With the new knowledge you've acquired, begin your "information needs" shows and contacts with sales representatives.

Adapted from Successful Exhibiting Newsletter
A Konopacki


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