Dawn Kristof Champney is president of the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Assn., a Washington, D.C.-based trade organization that has…
May 15, 2013

Expos: Getting Beyond ‘Shop ‘Til You Drop’

Water industry tradeshows give “shop ‘til you drop” a new meaning. They are humongous, exhausting and often overwhelming. Yet each year, the manufacturing community invests millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours to exhibit while their customers squeeze money out of ever-tightening budgets and take time out of increasingly hectic schedules to attend.

The reason is simple: Though they are grueling, these events offer the best opportunity to conduct a great deal of business in a small amount of time.

In a 2012 survey conducted by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, two-thirds of tradeshow attendees say that expos are important for investigating, evaluating and narrowing down choices before buying. With the ACE13 show just a few weeks away and WEFTEC registration now open, this is a good time to explore how buyers can make the most out of their tradeshow experience. 

We asked our members to provide the manufacturers’ perspective on this. Short of saying, “Visit our booth,” and, “Buy our products,” what do they recommend to ensure a win/win for everyone? They offered some very thoughtful, practical advice:

  • • Go in with a game plan. Review the pre-show materials. First, determine which presentations you want to attend, then block out some specific time to tour the hall. Check out the exhibitor list in advance and mark the booths you know you need to see.
  • • Check out the entire hall. While it may be tempting to visit only the companies you are currently doing business with (or are considering doing business with), take the time to walk the full floor. This is the best way to learn what is going on in the industry, and you may just find a technology you didn’t know existed that perfectly fits your needs.
  • • Make appointments. If you have a specific product or application you want to check out, contact the company in advance to find out who would be the best person to discuss it with onsite. Make an appointment to meet with that individual when both of you are sure to be there.
  • • Think “outside the booth.” Setting appointments at the show is great, but sometimes it can be tough to have meaningful conversations amid the bustle of the show. Touch base prior to the show with select current and prospective providers to see whether they can meet you for lunch, dinner or drinks.

We look forward to seeing you at your next show. Please be sure to stop by the WWEMA booth at ACE (#17037) and WEFTEC (#338)!