Last year I had the opportunity to do about 11 weeks of ASI Roadshows and a few larger shows like ASI Orlando. Throughout all the shows I’ve done in my years I’ve noticed something. When distributors walk through shows, some (not all) don’t make a valiant effort to stop and talk to at least a majority of suppliers. I notice this more at the larger shows, but it’s still noticeable in smaller numbers on roadshows.
Now, suppliers understand that with the larger shows distributors only have a limited amount of time to see a large number of suppliers, this is just the fact of our industry. We also realize, as suppliers, it is our job to get distributors in our booth to tell them about our products. Having said those two facts, suppliers too often see distributors stroll past their booths with a glazed look over their face, not making a substantial effort to stop at their booth, or even respond to a simple “Good morning.”
To many, this may sound like a complaint. It is not.
I think I can safely say that most supplier reps have had these thoughts at some point in their career while working a trade show booth. I think I can also safely say that most suppliers realize the fact that many distributors have some sort of an idea of what they’re looking for at a trade show, and tend to tune out anything that’s not relevant to what they’re after.
While this may be an effective way to get through the entire show, it does not allow you to discover many new ideas and alternative solutions to your customers’ problems. How are you going to grow your business if you don’t actively seek out new and exciting products for your customers at these fantastic trade shows?
As we near the end of the trade show season in our industry, I challenge distributors to broaden their radar at the shows they attend next year. Try to look for alternative solutions and new ideas for your customers, in addition to what you need to look for at that particular show. I invite anybody reading this to give me any insight you have on how you choose to walk a show floor in our industry, and share your thoughts on this matter.