Reading time ( words)
Let’s say it all together: “This year’s IPC APEX EXPO will be like no other.” Of course! This year is like no other, and it’s not even like last year’s show, which was really like no other. So, let’s just get over that and adjust. Success comes to those who choose to adapt, and like everything else in this life, success is an option—and a viable one at that.
You can sit around bemoaning the fact that IPC is requiring all sorts of COVID protocols. So what? Our whole life is now a COVID protocol. You can complain that there won’t be many people from other countries there. You can cry about the fact you won’t get to see many of your friends in San Diego. You can wallow in your own sea of negativity, or you can take the Monty Python approach and “Always look on the bright side of life.”
There are eight things you can do to make your experience at the show the best you’ve ever had:
- Spend time with key people: Because there will be fewer people there, you get to spend more quality time with those who can attend. Maybe there is a potential customer you have been trying to talk to about your wonderful product. I can guarantee that she will have time on her hands this year—time to spend time with you and listen carefully to what you have to say.
- Check out that new product: There certainly will not be hordes of people standing in line to get a look at that new piece of equipment you are interested in buying. You’ll be able to get a good long look at it. You’ll be able to get a lot more of the salesperson’s time and attention so you can learn everything you need to know about that equipment.
- Get a better deal: Talking about that equipment, I am sure you’ll be able to negotiate a better deal. Equipment exhibitors just hate the idea of dragging that floor demo model all the way home. They would much rather sell it to you on the spot and deliver it to your facility. Another bonus: You’ll get that new piece of equipment sooner than you would have otherwise. These days, when people buy a piece of equipment, they are waiting at least six months before they get it. With a floor model, you’ll be able to get it next week.
- Find key people: As always, some people come to the show to find a job, and we all need to find people who are looking for jobs right now. Make a point of seeking out the job seekers. If you have a booth, hand out a sign. If you are walking the show floor, look for these signs.
- Learn more about your industry: The most important thing is always information. The more valuable information you can gather, the more effective you will be in your business. We have all been isolated so long that we are dying to find out what is going on in our industry. Take in all the information you can, from going to the white paper presentations to talking to the men and women in the booths and aisles. Find out what’s new. Look for innovation. Seek out ways other people and companies are handling the challenges that the pandemic has brought us. Listen and learn as much as you can. Always remember that you learn more when you listen than when you talk.
- Promote yourself, your company, and your products: Get interviewed by publications like I-Connect007. It’s the best way to tell your story. If they don’t request an interview with them, then ask. I am sure the trades will not be doing their customary hundreds of interviews and will be looking for new people to talk to. This is a great time to tell your story. It’s the gift that keeps on giving as you can use it for your own marketing as well.
- Take someone to dinner: This is one year that nobody’s dance card is going to be full. I suspect that the restaurants won’t be either. So, make a point of setting up business meals with the right people. In many cases, like you, they have been literally and figuratively starved for business meals and conversation with other people in the business. They will want to know what you have been up to and how your company is faring in these hard times. And in the ever-popular spirit of underpromising and overdelivering, here is one more tip:
- Bring back the facts: Your folks at home will be dying to find out what happened at the show this year. For the past month, all I have heard about on my Zoom calls with people all over the world is: “Are you going to IPC APEX EXPO this year? What do you think that’s going to be like? Do you think a lot of people will be there?” Now, those same people will want to know, “What was IPC APEX EXPO like this year? How many people were there? Who was there?” Take my word for it—if you attend, you’ll be the talk of your gang for weeks to come.
It’s only common sense.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.