How to achieve the most when attending the convention
Attending your industry trade show — The Rental Show — could be the best business move you will ever make. To create and sustain success in today’s environment, you need to have complete, up-to-date information about what is happening in the rental business.
The Rental Show is by far the best vehicle to get the latest feedback, disseminate the most current information and obtain ideas that will help you to make the right decisions for your business. Even more, it allows you to network and initiate new contacts while cementing and enhancing existing business relationships.
The most important reason to attend The Rental Show, scheduled for Feb. 27-March 2, 2011, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, is to take advantage of the opportunity to attend the educational sessions. The American Rental Association (ARA), organizers of the world’s largest trade show and exhibition specifically for the equipment rental industry, has worked hard all year to line up great speakers and organize relevant educational sessions for The Rental Show. Be sure to download the handouts prior to the sessions.
Another good reason to attend The Rental Show is that it puts you in an energizing environment and provides the inspiration to help you take a more creative approach to your business. You just might obtain that one big idea that will make an impact on your bottom line.
The following are a few tips that can help you achieve the most when attending the show:
- Register in advance. Pre-registration is always a smart move. If you haven’t done so, register now.
- Maximize your time and prepare in advance. Time is at a premium at the show. Use The Rental Show Planner, the January and February issues of Rental Management, Rental Management’s The Hot List new product supplement and www.TheRentalShow.com to review the schedule, lists of exhibitors and what products or services they offer. Decide what exhibits you want to be sure to see. Make a game plan for “must see” exhibits and book appointments in advance. Then, make a list alphabetically, so that you can look them up quickly and write the booth numbers down. Then, write them in sequence of the aisles where they will be located. There will be exhibitors who are offering new products and services as well as first-time exhibitors that may benefit your business. Be sure to be “in the know” and visit these vendors.
- Walk with a purpose. Take the time to walk the exhibit floor thoroughly and completely so you will get the biggest bang for your buck. Carry a small notepad and take as many notes as possible. Record information and ideas from educational seminars, networking events and vendors that you want to implement after the show.
- Keep those business cards in your pocket. Exhibitors will be able to record your contact information if requested, but be sure to carry business cards in your right pocket. If you pick up someone’s card, write notes on the back. Otherwise, when you look at it after the show, you may not remember why you have this person’s card.
- Look for “Show-Only Specials.” Some exhibitors offer special pricing or value-added packages if you place your order at the show. Be sure you are aware of these opportunities and take advantage of those that make sense for you and your rental business.
- Knowledge is power. Gather as much information as you can. Find out what new solutions are available to you that can help you to expand your rental business and increase the two “P’s” — productivity and profitability. During the show, talk to industry experts and speakers to learn all you can.
- Arrange an “idea exchange.” Consider arranging a meeting with others in your industry to ask what they are doing in their organizations and what they see for the future. Think of it as an idea exchange. Better yet, talk to ARA staff members and learn how to participate in a Business Advisory Group.
- Work a room wisely. Lunches, receptions, hospitality rooms and similar events are not just for eating, drinking and making merry. They also provide the best possible opportunities to network with your peers. The Rental Show provides exceptional networking events you can’t afford to miss. When you do, be the first person to enter the room and the last to leave. Doing so will dramatically increase your opportunities to meet and greet others. Position yourself at the “center of influence” — the center of the room and not near the food and beverage areas. This way, you can see who is coming through the door and keep your eye out for those VIPs you have wanted to meet.
- Form strategic alliances. Another tip of the trade and most definitely a good reason to attend the show is that you may find an opportunity to form a strategic alliance with another rental business. Many are formed at trade shows. Begin sowing the seeds for collaboration. Alliances can make a big difference in business growth.
- Leverage vendor expertise. While at the show, talk with your vendors. Ask for their advice on what others are doing to survive this tough economy and what action you should be taking to not simply survive, but prosper.
- Take action because going back to “business as usual” won’t cut it. After the show, your feet will be aching, but your mind will be creatively charged. Now’s the time to make smart decisions. Go over your handouts and your notes. Prioritize three actions you will take immediately after the show. Then, identify five critical success factors for your business and what actions you will need to take to achieve your goals. In today’s world, execution must be a strong part of your competitive strategy.
If you want to increase your ability to remain competitive and end up a winner down the long road ahead, then I encourage you to attend The Rental Show and learn what you need to do to move ahead. It is an ideal vehicle to obtain the knowledge that you need to help you strategize, improve operations and make smart decisions.
© Copyright 2011, Christine Corelli & Associates, Morton Grove, Ill. Christine Corelli, a businesswoman, columnist and author of five books, will present the seminar, “Creating and Executing a Smart Business Plan” at The Rental Show 2011 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas on Sunday, Feb. 27, at 1:45 p.m. For more information about the seminar and the show, visit www.TheRentalShow.com. To learn more about Corelli, visit her website,