Product information is all around us: spec sheets, brochures, direct mail and so on and so on. And while there’s no question that equipment dealers and the Internet — in addition to these other sources — are valuable tools in the equipment buying process, trade shows still offer the best opportunity to get up close and personal with the latest technology and advancements in the compact equipment industry.
But if the thought of an expo center packed with thousands of attendees makes your feet ache before you’ve even booked your ticket, following a solid plan can streamline your visit and make the most out of your next trade show experience.
Here are six tips as you mark your calendar for upcoming trade shows.
- Plan ahead. Develop a solid plan in which you identify your machine and attachment needs for the next 12-18 months. With that in mind, make a list of the manufacturers that build the equipment you need and compare it to a show map. This can help you determine booth locations and map a route through the trade show floor.
- Go online. New products, technologies and best practices are on your mind as you assess how they impact your business. Get a head start on determining how the industry’s latest products can impact your company by visiting each trade show’s website to see announcements about new product introductions and special events.
- Ask questions. Trade shows provide the opportunity to speak with manufacturers’ representatives. This is a great time to confirm equipment specifications, get application details, discuss pricing and finance and ask any questions you might have. You can also gain customer references through these conversations.
- Get hands-on. Some trade shows have work areas that allow attendees to see, touch and test products under real-world jobsite conditions. By getting some hands-on time with the products, you can go beyond the spec sheets and experience the performance of various machines before making a purchase.
- Take notes. You’ll likely see more machines, attachments and services in one place than at any other time. And while you can’t line up all the different pieces of equipment and compare them side-by-side, you can read product literature and can talk to each manufacturer’s representatives to learn about each product’s features and benefits. Use a note-taking app on your phone or tablet — or carry a pad and pen — and jot notes to reference at home or back at the office.
- Find new opportunities. Set aside time at each trade show to explore emerging markets, see new ways to use equipment and learn how you can expand your current business. Visit with industry experts, attend seminars and take other opportunities to learn new skills, solutions and strategies to improve your business.