Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Getting the Most out of a Trade Show

Winter trade shows have a long history in our industry.  I have very fond memories of heading down to Crown Center with my family to meet up with my dad and uncle at the Western Show, back when it was held at the Hyatt. I always looked forward to this because I could run around the show and collect candy from all the different vendor tables.  For lunch, my dad always took us to the Crayola Café.   From a grade school age kid's perspective, it was a blast!
 
Fast forward 20 years and I find myself working the trade show circuit during the winter months.  Although the number of shows Loma Vista participates in has decreased in the last few years, we are still what I would consider heavily involved in trade shows.  I recently attended the National Green Centre trade show in St. Louis and ProGreen Expo in Denver.  Loma Vista was also represented at the Northern Green Expo in Minneapolis.    

With decreased attendance and much less focus on buyers actually making purchases at the show, I have asked myself "why do we continue to invest in trade shows?"  With just a few mouse clicks, I can find out the inventory and prices from most nurseries through their websites and emails.
 
Here is why:
 
Wes and Dr. Mike DirrNetworking - the knowledge and expertise typically found on the trade show floor is unparalleled. Not only did we further establish vendor and customer relationships at the trade shows, but we made new ones.

Team Building - the four hour drive to St. Louis and then back with three Loma Vista team members gave us time to brainstorm and plan for the 2013 season.  Our staff is awesome and I love how enthusiastic they are about improving what we do.  The things that came from eight hours in the car was their input and their take on how Loma Vista Nursery can improve.  "We are here to help our customers succeed!"  This is what the LVN sales team is passionate about and our conversations all focused around this point.  Look for our new company mission statement based on this principle in the future. 

Educational Events - sometimes it is hard to take time away from your job to try to learn something new and gain more knowledge in new subjects.  It is easy to make excuses, too busy, too expensive, not enough time, etc.  While at a trade show, be certain to take advantage of the educational opportunities and roundtable discussions.  A fellow colleague said this at one of the discussions I attended and I will end on his quote because I absolutely believe this:
 
"The world is run by those who show up."

Lyndsi Oestmann, Vice President, Loma Vista Nursery

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