Dec. 9 2011 05:07 PM

Over the past month and a half, we’ve travelled to two major trade shows: the GIE+Expo and the Irrigation Show. Both shows cater to the distributor as well as the contractor.

As I was going around the shows’ floors, I kept asking the exhibitors (who are the manufacturers) how the show was for them.

Most thought the show was good—many thought it was excellent and some were not happy at all.

I’ve tried to figure out what makes a good show and what doesn’t. It turns out that it’s all about the attendance. Exhibitors perceive that the aisles should be jammed with people. Yet when you analyze it, having a buyer and an entourage of people who follow the buyer—but can neither make a purchase nor influence it—becomes cumbersome. But the aisles are crowded.

The other side of the coin is that, because of the economy, companies are less apt to send people who are neither buyers nor influencers, to cut down on expenses. The aisles are less crowded; however, with less of an entourage the buyer can now spend more time with the exhibitor. And he does.

So it really boils down to quality versus quantity. Then I tried to determine what makes a show attendee stop at one exhibitor’s booth and bypass another. I spoke with a number of exhibitors and this is what I found: if the exhibitor was promoting and advertising their product—especially if it was a new company—brand and name recognition made the attendee stop.

Exhibitors who did very little advertising and promotion got less traffic.

So, you’re thinking, what does this have to do with me, the landscape contractor? Very simple, the same basics apply. If you’re sitting in your office waiting for the phone to ring, business is not going to come to you. In today’s environment, you’ve got to go out and be creative in drumming up business. The same name recognition applies to your customers as it does to you. If they know of you, or have heard of you, you’ve got a better shot at getting the job.

So in the new year, make yourself a promise. Use all the tools at your disposal to make your company name known; be creative— generate more business for your company and keep it healthy.

Our entire staff would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a Happy and Healthy New Year.