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Getting the Most Out of Attending ITEX

24 Feb, 2003 By: Mike Cox imageSource

Getting the Most Out of Attending ITEX

Now that you've
decided to attend ITEX 2003, you are faced with getting your money's worth out
of the trip. Besides the travel expenses, meals and show registration costs, you
must also recoup the time that you are kept from your daily activities. In order
to justify all the outright and hidden costs, it's imperative that you maximize
your efforts.

Positive Planning
Time at a trade show can be very well spent, but can also be easily wasted
without prior goal setting and planning. To make goal setting and planning
easier, spend some time before going to the show gathering information and make
a schedule for yourself. To start with, you can go to www.itexshow.com
for a full agenda of the show. The website contains a complete listing of every
vendor exhibiting at the show, as well as a schedule of the seminars and
training that will be conducted during the show.

Get as much detail
as possible to give yourself a better idea of what each vendor will be
displaying or who from their company will be in attendance. The ITEX exhibition
features more than 150 manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers; having a map
that details where each vendor will be located and where seminars and training
will be held is a necessity at a show this big. Using a map will stop you from
wasting time wandering around, trying to find the location of the next seminar
or training class and missing the parts of the show you wanted to see most!

Armed with your
information, make a list of each vendor that you want to meet and/or network
with. The list should be complete and arranged from the most important contact
to the least. This makes it easy to prioritize who or what to see first. Writing
down your priorities is the first big step to staying on track and remaining
focused in attaining your preset goals.

Next, list dates and
times of the seminars, training classes and speeches that you plan to attend.
This year's keynote speaker at ITEX will be Tom Johnson, president and CEO of
Global Imaging Systems. Johnson will give dealers the scoop on what he believes
the future of our market looks like and how he plans to position his dealerships
for future growth. ITEX offers attendees a choice of 36 seminars in addition to
four full-day ITEX University Workshops. Make sure that with this list, you
again prioritize which is the most important. If you are not able to attend
every day of the show, this list will help your overall planning for the time
you will be there.

With these two lists
in hand, you can now create your prioritized agenda for the entire time you will
be attending the trade show. Keeping this agenda and its priorities in the front
of your mind will be the most important factor in staying on track and getting
the most out of attending the trade show.

Making The Most Of
The Show After you arrive at the show and start working through your lists,
continue to be proactive to get what you want. When you stop at a vendor's
booth, clarify whom you are meeting with. Make sure you get their business card
so you remember whom you spoke to. If this is not the person you will want to
contact later, write that person's name down with a note on the back of the
card. Be sure to note any personal information about the contact to help jog
your memory when you return to your office. You will make a lot of new contacts
and without memory pegs it is often hard to keep them straight in your mind.
Don't hesitate to keep notes such as: "Tall guy with curly red hair"
or "Wearing the loud Hawaiian shirt". You will be amazed at how
quickly that will help to reconstruct the meeting in your mind! Don't be afraid
to ask for a follow-up phone call or set a time to call the contact back
yourself. You are there to benefit your company and all follow up will help to
solidify your relationship with each individual and their respective business.

Networking with
colleagues can also be very beneficial for you and your company. Talk to
colleagues from your industry about issues or struggles that seem to be common
to your niche. Perhaps they are dealing with an issue and trying a solution that
would greatly help your business. At the very least, their ideas may get the
wheels in motion for creating your own solution to a certain problem that your
business has been experiencing. Don't hesitate to share information with others,
too. Quite often we only get feedback that helps us when we initiate a topic for
discussion. You will usually find that you are not alone in experiencing the
challenges of your industry.

Search out
hospitality events or gatherings that may be occurring during or after the
actual hours of the show. The ITEX Show offers a free lunch on the show floor
which can be a good way to further business relationships beyond the normal
walls of the trade show. Whether during or after the show, these relations will
give you a more detailed insight into your industry and the people that comprise
it. Sometimes while on the exhibition floor, there are too many distractions and
deep, solid conversation is difficult to hold. A smaller gathering may offer a
better atmosphere for networking.

And regardless of
whom you meet or what you experience, HAVE FUN! You will learn more and get more
out of the trip if you can relax and enjoy yourself while you are networking and
learning about your industry. Allow leisure time to see some of the sights in
the host city or surrounding areas. With the ITEX Show in Las Vegas, you may
need to do some extra planning-or "budgeting" if you will. You must
plan to NOT lose all of your money on the first night. Ration yourself, so that
you lose it slowly over the course of your stay!

A Learning
Experience Once the show is over and you have returned to work, take a look at
what you have accomplished in comparison to the goals that you set before the
show. Did you see and learn all of the things you intended to before leaving? If
not, why not? Write down the things that inhibited you from achieving your goals
so that when planning for your next trade show, you can streamline your goals
and your plans to better achieve everything you want.

Last, but certainly
not least, is communicating all of the things you learned while at the show to
anyone and everyone at your company that can benefit from this newfound
knowledge. Whether it is a new way to attack a troubling issue or information
you gained while networking with other colleagues, it is certainly beneficial
and will only grow in value as you share it with others in your company. Every
time someone gains from the knowledge you shared, you have improved your payback
from attending the show.

Cox has been a sales manager with PARTS NOW! LLC, in Madison, WI, since 2000. He
has attended and exhibited at numerous trade shows during his career.

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