It’s time for the event we’ve all been waiting for: Coverings: The Tile + Stone Industry’s premier event, April 29-May 2,2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Once a year in the United States, the latest and most innovative products in the tile and stone industry have the opportunity to be showcased in one wonderful event. For four days, buyers and specifiers from around the world will for new products to purchase for their business or prize customers. They will be stocking up on trade, consumer and product magazines hoping to read everything on the the plane home.
Despite its size and impact on the industry, many business people decide not to attend. When I ask them, they all have the same excuses: I’ve done it before, it’s too much walking; I only buy from one source or my city is so provincial they won’t appreciate anything new. As I listen to these statements, I can’t agree or disagree—maybe they are all true but the reasons to attend are more compelling.
If you consider yourself one of the ‘movers and shakers’ in your market, how can you pass it up?
Before you attend the show, ask your staff what information they would like from the show.
With social media high on everyone’s list, why not find interesting things to post? Coverings provides the perfect place to find information to post on-line for your ‘potential customers.’ Had you thought about daily tweets and Facebook posts? This is your time to let all your competitors know that you’re the flooring trendsetter in your community.
I read an interesting statistic, approximately, 72% of consumers surveyed said that they trusted on-line reviews as much as personal recommendations, while 52% said that positive on-line reviews made them more likely to use a local business. How can you get online reviews? One way is to showcase brand new products to your customers and ask them to comment. This along with your positive reviews about your store will influence those new customers.
Maybe Coverings is ‘something you feel you must attend’, but its likely your salespeople would be more than happy to take your place. Why not choose your top salesperson or customer service person to attend the show with you? Have them bring back all the goodies from the show for the rest of your staff.
Let’s not forget the most amazing educational seminars given by industry experts. Everything from installation best practices to the latest in color trends and social media marketing are available in the education seminars. Why not bring someone and have them attend the seminars that will be the most valuable for your staff? The seminars are free.
Don’t forget to go back with goodies from the show for everyone in your store. The bins are filled with magazines—your salespeople will be excited to see what’s new in products and installation.
Consider bringing an empty suitcase that can be filled with goodies or ship a box home before you leave. How about providing handouts on color trends and anything else that would get your salespeople excited about their jobs?
Don’t forget your installers. With not much time on their hands, condense what you find, hold a short meeting with them and tell them what’s new. Again make your list before the show so that you will look for the information you need. Consider bringing someone from your installation department or an installer to check out ‘the best practices. Check out the installation demonstrations.
Most attendees think differently when they finally get to see the show. Instead of ‘why am I going’ turns into, ‘it’s only four days?’
This is your show; make the most of it for your entire team and enjoy the excitement.
Lisbeth Calandrino is the Associate Publisher and Social Media Strategist for Fabulous Floors Magazine.