This is the time of the year that most of the national tool distributors hold their annual trade shows. Mac Tools, Matco Tools and Cornwell Quality Tools host their respective Fairs, Expos and Rallies in the first quarter of the year (the exception is Snap-on’s Franchisee Conference, which is held in late summer). And yes, the TechShop team will be packing up to attend these trade shows to bring you the latest in equipment and tool innovation.
Not only will we be attending the shows to gather important information for you, the readers, but also to see our clients, the advertisers. In my opinion, it is critical to participate in trade shows in order to maintain and continue to build client relationships as well as meet new faces in the industry in hopes of partnering with them in the future.
Forbes recently conducted a study on face-to-face meetings and interactions, which showed that the majority of executives polled believe face-to-face meetings are still crucial for building stronger, more meaningful and profitable business relationships.
You’re probably thinking, “So you want me to go to a trade show?” No, that’s not exactly what I am saying. But I am trying to encourage you into making more face-to-face interactions right at your shop.
Don’t be afraid to make a special point to ask your customers about their service experience or if they have any questions. Make sure you thank them for their business. Encourage them to call or come back if they have any questions.
Other ways to incorporate face-to-face interaction is within your community. Get involved! Supporting local events and donating your service for charity can be profitable to your business. I have been involved with a local charity for the last few years, and I can say that all the community interaction has helped improve my business skills from networking to negotiating making my face-to-face interaction with TechShop customers that much stronger.
These local community events in a sense should be like a trade show to you. Work the event in search of new customers. And while you’re there, look out for current customers, and build on the relationships you currently have. Say hello and thank them for their business. Give them some business cards so they can refer you to their friends and co-workers. Perhaps sponsor a local fundraiser or luncheon and get your name everywhere you possibly can! Think programs, signage, lanyards…trust me, it will pay off.
And in return, if there is an event or conference (such as the MACS Worldwide Convention and Tradeshow, the WORLDPAC Supplier & Training EXPO [click here for a report on this year’s EXPO], the AVI Vegas Training Conference, AAPEX and SEMA) that could benefit your shop, try to attend. All of these shows offer great opportunities to learn about new tools and equipment. You’ll meet the people you’ve previously only spoken with on the phone. And that face-to-face meeting just might be the difference you were looking for to grow your business.
As your new Associate Publisher of TechShop magazine I am eager to hear your thoughts and personal experiences. Please send me an e-mail at [email protected]. And if you decide to attend some of these events, look for me at the shows. It would be great to meet you face-to-face.