By Bruce Koppenhoefer
Whenever major trade show events come around, managers everywhere have to ask themselves the “why” question: Why should I and/or my staff attend? What will we gain? And those are important questions to ask.
Even if the related travel expenses aren’t much, there’s still employee time to consider: what could they be doing instead that has more value? Expenses have to be managed. Let me give you one exhibitor’s thoughts on what value you get from attending the Rockwell Automation Fair.
An Exhibitor’s Perspective
Sure. It’s in an exhibitors best interest to promote attendance. We get sore feet from working the crushing traffic at the booth and a mountain of business cards/contacts to follow up with. But we also get things of value.
We learn about the markets, the needs of our customers. If we’re good, we can spot trends that we want to pursue, or avoid. We learn about new technologies and products. We network with peers and discuss collaboration opportunities. We do one other very important thing: we start new relationships with end users and owners. This act is also what makes your attendance so valuable.
Learn and Relate
As a consumer of automation products and services, you have to learn a lot when researching products and vendors. Admittedly, most of that you can do via the Internet. Although, I think most of us admit that it’s nice to be able to actually touch and hold and use a product, something you can’t do (yet) on line. So, learning is a nice benefit of attending, but not an overwhelming one.
When exhibitors are looking for prospects with whom they can start a relationship, they’re looking for you. You have the opportunity to find the vendor(s) with whom you want a relationship. Why is that important to you?
The automation field is one of complex sales, processes that may take six to 18 months before the sale occurs. Then the project can take many months, even years, to complete. You will be spending a lot of time with your chosen vendor, so you need to choose wisely.
A show such as the Rockwell Automation Fair is your opportunity to meet multiple vendors, to find those with whom you’re comfortable, to be confident that the ones you consider have the skills and capabilities to successfully perform your work. Even take the opportunity to compare vendors.
And if you need another reason, your attendance will help the economy of Houston recover from the ravages they’ve suffered. It’s a win-win-win deal.