Trade show season started a couple of weeks ago.
One of the strategies that we use to bring our products to market is to attend trade shows. (In the rest of the world, they are called exhibitions). These shows, which seldom are open to the public, is an opportunity to share our products and the Enjoy Life story with members of the trade.
Trade can come in many forms:
- Restaurant buyers
- University and College Cafeteria buyers
- Distributors from other countries
You get the idea. We go to these shows to meet as many qualified people as possible, showing our products, sharing our uniqueness, and if it is a good fit, starting a business relationship. It might seem a bit antiquated in this day of digitalness, but there still is nothing better than having a face-to-face meeting with prospects, customers, and business partners.
As mentioned at the opening, the trade show season started this past week. We packed up our wares and headed to San Francisco for the NASFT Winter Fancy Foods event. This is a major trade show for the Specialty Gourmet industry, which is growing so fast, they have two of these shows per year, Winter version in SF and Summer version in NY.
Three full days of standing on our feet for 7 hours per day, handing out samples, talking to prospects, meeting with customers, and introducing and sharing the Enjoy Life story. Our ultimate goal is to be ubiquitous; we want our customers to be able to find our brand wherever and whenever they shop. The only way for this to happen is if we are in more stores with more product in more cities more often.
People who work trade shows find them tiring. Fair enough, they are not easy. You are standing all day, bathroom breaks are at a minimum, you are saying the same thing over and over, answering the same questions from different people. You are living out of a suitcase, wearing a logoed shirt so you are far from fashionable, getting up early, going to bed late. And if the show is on the west coast (which this was) and you work with someone who is cheap (which I am) you have to take the red-eye flight back home which means you lose a whole night of sleep, arriving home at 5:30 a.m. feeling as if you have just sat up in a chair all night, which you did.
Here is the crazy thing…I love shows! Always have. The year that I got married, I attended 45 shows (different company) including a show that fell smack dab in the middle of my honeymoon, where my then wife of three days worked the booth by my side for an additional four days. (free help you know…aren’t I a romantic?)
You have to be at these shows if you want to grow the business. Fortunately for us, a lot of our competitors choose to limit the number of shows that they will attend each year. They make excuses as to why a particular show is not right for them. Slow traffic, not the right prospects attending, bad time of year, bad city, etc.
But here’s the thing.
Woody Allen, the director, is credited as once saying : “80% of success is simply showing up. ”
He’s right. You have the be there to get new business. If you don’t show, it is hard to grow. We’re there. Every show.
Trade show season has started. I may be the only person around who feels this way, but it is my favorite time of the year.
See you at a city near you….