Ready. Set. Show!
Professional drag racers spend countless hours preparing themselves for what may be 10-11 seconds in an actual race. On race day, they pull their machine up to the line and eagerly wait for the green light. When the light changes, they immediately explode from idle to wide open.
Our experience at the California Closets Vendor Show was much like a drag race. We spent countless hours preparing for this show – laying out our booth, securing marketing materials, producing the items we wanted to show and packing the crate.
When the doors opened, signalling the start of the show, I felt this same sense of urgency I imagine a dragster feels as they race off of the starting line. Participants immediately flooded our booth and began asking questions. Traffic didn’t subside until the show ended.
It was an exhilarating and very useful experience. It takes a certain kind of company to pull off a show like this, but there were several positive aspects of this format versus a traditional trade show. Here are a few:
• Less Travel Time – Shortened show times lead to less time away from the office and home.
• Limited Physical Impact – This venue was much smaller than large format shows, but it is over much faster with less walking and time spent standing.
• Attentive Audience – Participants seemed to prefer spending quality time with select vendors and focusing on “how can you help me” as opposed to visiting all vendors briefly.
This format reminds me of another outside-the-box approach called Speed Networking. This is a spin off of the 90’s phenomenon known as Speed Dating and it is attributed to Tom Jaffee, a Columbia MBA alumnus who first paired the idea of Speed Dating with businesses.
Speed Networking is a great way to get in front of key decision makers of companies that are likely to use your product or service. It exists in a number of formats and are coordinated by individual corporations, local trade associates and may even be seen inside of larger conferences or trade shows.
Have you experienced a show like this? Have you been involved with Speed networking? Tell us about your ideas to make ordinary trade shows a hit!