Missed Opportunities: The GRAPH EXPO Edition
I was fortunate to get to spend parts of two days at GRAPH EXPO this year at McCormick Place in Chicago. I think it is commonly held as one of, if not THE, most important show in our beloved industry. I got to sit on the "Market Your Printing Company" panel which was very lively and had some interesting perspectives on the subject—which I will try to cover in a subsequent post. I also made my GRAPH EXPO solo debut in a Tuesday morning session about Savvy Selling in the Tech Economy. I promised a few weeks ago I would deliver a memorable presentation, and I am sad to say I think I did not, but I’ll let you know when I get the assessments back in three weeks.
But I digress. Having witnessed this years’ MUCH smaller show, I have a few suggestions for how we can ALL make it a better and more productive show. I think there were a lot of missed opportunities, many of which I myself was guilty of.
1. SHOW UP!—Did you go? Did you participate? If not, why not? I went for two days, but I really should have planned to spend more time. I really was only there to attend the events I was a part of, hassle Bill, and then get the hell out. Shame on me!
2. TALK TO PEOPLE—I feel like I walked around with my head down and was very closed off to interacting with people. The only folks I met were people that Bill and MaryBeth were gracious enough to introduce me to. I vow to be friendlier, more open and meet more folks.
3. AND WHILE WE’RE ON THE TOPIC OF TALKING TO PEOPLE, MAKE ARRANGEMENTS TO MEET UP WITH PEOPLE YOU ALMOST NEVER GET TO SEE—I really wish I had planned, used social media more, and made plans to meet up with friends and meet people I had always wanted to meet. Now, more than ever, it is easy to get introduced and see people. Next time, I will plan more and meet, greet, mix and mingle. This can only bring good things to us all.
4. INTERACT WITH THE EXHIBITORS—Companies pay big bucks to participate and exhibit, and we owe it to them and the industry to shop around and see what there is on offer. And yet many of us treat the exhibitors like pushing perfume samplers at the mall. Let’s get out there and shake some hands and learn something!
5. AND WHILE WE’RE ON THE TOPIC OF EXHIBITORS, PLEASE PUT MORE EFFORT INTO YOUR BOOTH AND THE EXPERIENCE OF YOUR ATTENDEES!—Other than the big guys like Canon, Xerox and the like, some of the booth spaces are kind of sad. Even if you don't have a lot of space, you can maximize it and make it count. Ask for some input from some colleagues and even customers to make sure you are making the most of your investment and wowing those future customers.
So now I have my to-do list for next year—GRAPH EXPO 2015 is going to rock for me, and I hope it does for you, too.
Please feel free to share your own GRAPH EXPO experiences and let me know how you did!
Blogger, author, consultant, coach and all around evangelist for the graphic arts industry, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include sales and marketing coaching, enabling clients to find engagement strategies that work for them and mentoring the next generation of sales superstars.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league. She is also the mother of two sets of twins under the age of ten, so she fears nothing.