Many of you reading this might be wondering what ICSC REcon 2013 is; the largest global retail convention in the world. The conference boasts well over 30,000 attendees annually. The attendees are comprised of developers, tenants, brokers, students, owners, investors and all other real estate service professionals. The trade show floors are amazing and the exhibitors usually spare no expense. Whether it is Jersey Mike’s or Jimmy John’s preparing and serving a sandwich or Bass Pro with one of their sponsored NASCAR vehicles on display, it is simply a sight to see. More importantly though, if you are a professional in sales, what are the merits of attending trade shows? Can you expect dividends from your investment of time and money?
There are a number of measurable and unmeasurable benefits of attending these trade shows and conferences. I will discuss a few of those ideas briefly and look forward to any comments or feedback on any of these benefits.
Commonality – One of the first things that happens as a result of attending a trade show is the common ground that you build among the professionals you work with on a regular basis. An easy way to begin to reduce tension in a relationship is to build a bridge with others based on common interests and shared experiences. ICSC RECon provides this opportunity and builds a basis for something to talk about. Trade shows allow this to happen because both parties have participated.
Credibility – Attending these shows not only builds credibility with other attendees but it also instills trust with the clients you currently serve. I am a retail specialist in the Commercial Real Estate Industry. Therefore, when I share with my shopping center owners that I am at a convention with the tenants that will fill their centers, they know that I am investing in them, their assets, and even myself. These organizations also allow you to volunteer on committees and support the organization. This is another great way to establish you are a viable professional doing all you can to support your given industry.
Competence – Typically with many industry trade shows there are educational offerings that provide a chance for you to grow as a professional. Even the general sessions and market and trade updates are insightful and should serve to build your understanding of your industry and current trends. This knowledge will enhance your competence to conduct business. This also will provide more confidence when you engage your clients. When you establish your knowledge of your industry with others, it continues to build your trustworthiness in the marketplace.
Motivation – Trade shows always fire me up! I see all that is going on in my industry and I leave thinking how do I and how can I tap into more of what I have experienced. You also get to see other professionals that are leading the way of their field. These shows always establish a new benchmark for me and a next level to shoot for and to climb to. I always pick up a few tips that allow me to work on my business rather than in my business. Whether it is social media, prospecting tools, resources to support my next step efforts and many other tools to that motivate me.
Transactions – One of the other elements that is often a part of a good trade show is the opportunity for transactions and leads to occur. In my opinion this is one of the best attributes of ICSC RECon and any trade show that is credible offers. One of the biggest transactions of my career thus far was solidified at this show. I always go with the goal of completing a transaction that will pay for my attendance. I even try to cover my wife’s expenses as well! Without fail this has occurred consistently, business I would not have had otherwise.
This is an overall outline of the benefits of the trade show and a brief summary. I would appreciate your comments and feedback and plan to expand each topic on separate blogs.