August 31, 2021

Are Trade Shows a Good Investment?

By Paul Daniels

Over the years, I have attended more trade shows than I care to count, both as an exhibitor and attendee. I was always asked and had a hard time answering the question: What was our return on investment (ROI)? In a few weeks, many of you will be asking the same question as you head to GlassBuild America in Atlanta.

Exhibitors will be there for many reasons: being a good industry citizen, building relationships, seeking new customers, introducing new products, or saying thank you to customers and suppliers. Attendees will be seeking the next great product or industry trend, education, new suppliers, or to build better relationships with current ones—all important reasons to attend the show, but not any that can quantify the expenses.

Looking back, I don’t know of a show where I could put together a spreadsheet that showed the immediate impact of attending. However, I can look back and identify many critical relationships, products and suppliers that changed our business forever that would never have happened if we didn’t attend.

I would challenge our booth staff to identify five victories they could follow up on from the show. We would give a list of all the customers who were there to our salespeople for follow-up. It also gives your salespeople something to talk about when they go back to work on Monday. While the show is important, it only lasts three days. We all make our living every day.

This year, I believe it is more important than ever to attend trade shows. Companies are very busy, but supply chains are changing as many products are in high demand. The show will give you opportunities to expand your supply base and give you the confidence to expand suppliers. Knowing the glass industry, I know there will be many new and innovative products companies have been developing over the last two years that could change your business forever. The most important reason to attend is to strengthen your relationships with customers and vendors, who are the people that keep us all in business. Of course, remember to keep your eyes open for that product or trend that you will one day look back on and appreciate how it impacted your business.

I hope to see you at the show. I will be at the Frameless Hardware Co. booth, so stop by booth 803 and say hello.