Fall, or sweater weather as my wife calls it, is my favorite time of year. Crisp mornings, cool evenings, apple cider, falling leaves and high school football are some of my favorite things that come to mind when I think of time away from the business.
When I think about fall in relation to business, I immediately think “Trade Show Season." Why? For well more than a decade, attending trade shows has become a part of my professional life. I call it "Trade Show Season" because my calendar is dominated by the GlassBuild America, glasstec, Vitrum and WInDoor shows from August through November. And frankly, I really enjoy it.
Upon returning to my office after the first trade show I attended (I believe it was the iGw/FW show in Atlanta in 1999), I found a lanyard with my vendor badge attached to it in my luggage. Without much thought, I placed it on the doorknob on the back of my office door, not knowing that nearly 13 years of lanyards and badges would quickly accumulate there and become a daily reminder of Trade Show Season and the work associated with it.
As an industry supplier, the goal of Trade Show Season (and I assume the same is true of all other suppliers) is to demonstrate what we have been working on over the past year, with the hope that we get slivers of time to educate clients and prospects about the benefits we have to offer and eventually make the sale.
Over the years, I have learned that the actual time spent at the shows is very small compared to the time spent preparing for and following up after the shows. I am a strong believer in the old proverb, “failing to plan is a plan for failure,” so we dedicate many hours to every detail of our trade show efforts prior to the shows and then to following up with new prospects and existing clients after the show.
On a personal level, I enjoy attending shows not only to get another lanyard and name badge to hang on my door but to catch up with old friends as well. If you’re in Las Vegas for the Glassbuild America show, stop by our booth and say hello. I always have time to meet new friends.
Ron Crowl is president of FeneTech, the Aurora, Ohio, provider of software automation products and services to the glass, window and door fabrication industries. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.