Did you ever "Work" a trade show?
Let's start by defining what "Work" a trade show actually means. When most of us attend a trade show, we go to enjoy the exhibits (as well as the food court :-)), note any new and/or improved products, and generally just have an enjoyable day. But, to "Work" a trade show can take this experience to a deeper level.
Many of us actually visit a trade show with an agenda. This is really where the "Work" begins. We have a list of products and/or services that we need and use, so we want (and need) to get the latest information about those things. We make a concerted effort to locate those particular exhibits and spend all the time necessary communicating with the respective vendors and gathering as much information as is available. Visiting these exhibits can take only a few minutes, or you can spend literally hours in relevant discussions on the things that are important to you and your business. Then, we go home and spend even more time studying this information and making decisions as to whether or not these products and/or services will be beneficial to our business, our profitability and our lives.
Vendors also have an opportunity to "Work" a trade show. Obviously, there is the behind-the-scenes efforts of setting up the exhibit with signs, posters, brochures, and banners. Also, vendors must make sure that the products and/or services are shown in their very best possible presentation, and that their product knowledge is unquestionably accurate.
But the real "Work" for a vendor starts with the visits they get from those in attendance. A vendor has the opportunity to speak first-hand with the customers that use their products and/or services, or similar products/services, and hear the good, the bad and the ugly about all of it. Visitors will most often not be too shy in sharing their experiences with what works for them, and equally what doesn't. They will not be shy in naming specific manufacturers and their specific products, both good and not so good. A vendor, if they are paying attention, will be able to gather useful feedback and information to take back to their business to make their products and/or services even better than before.
So, they next time you have an opportunity to attend a trade show, please do so. Be sure to enjoy the show and the food, but also please be sure to spend some time with the exhibitors and their wares. The rapport that is established and the information that is received by everyone sure makes the "Work" worthwhile.