You know, we’re in a resolutely business-to-customer service industry, are we not? So, you might be forgiven for thinking that attending trade shows would be a waste of time. Don’t you believe it for a minute! It may be individual customers that you serve that earn your revenue but it’s the relationships with your peers that keep you going.
Your business is built on the relationships that you form within the industry and between professionals that makes the best B2C service possible. Let’s take a look at trade shows (IHRSA 2015) and what they can do for you beyond being an excuse to get out of the house once and a while.
The Trade Show Learning Curve
As they say, you don’t need to star in the show but you do need to turn up. Just by being at trade shows you gain much in the knowledge of what’s going on in the business. Get to one to find out what is going on, then review the experience afterward and approach your next event with a more aggressive and focused plan of attack. As you get comfortable attending events you’ll learn to be a little bit of a politician, shaking hands and handing out business cards.
You can easily begin relationships that will last for years and you never physically meet the person again. But it will have been the physical contact at the start that gave you the confidence to work with them in the first place. The kinds of connections that you will build are those that could form the basis for a series of interviews by podcast. It’s a great place to meet potential podcast guests and covering the event itself is a podcast worthy topic.
Three words that sum up what you get from attending large fitness trade shows are "Deep" "Industry" "Knowledge". Although we have an industry that is customer focused and local in delivery there is always a new thing on the horizon. You don’t need to jump on any moving trains but you at least have to know how to avoid getting run over.
In the fitness industry trade shows hold an important place that has been cemented by years of tradition. Professional organizations and media companies want influence and brand recognition and they are highly motivated to find new sales opportunities. Franchisors and equipment manufacturers are compelled to attend.
Finally, it is about the most fun you can have in the business, to get out there and talk like an insider, to insiders about things that won’t hit the public consciousness for a year or two from now. Returning home from a conference brings a new energy and enthusiasm that will motivate your staff and charm your customers. So if you have not done so yet get out to some trade shows; you won’t regret it.
Our Personal Professional Experience
Gym insight attends trade shows as a vendor and as a small gym owner on a regular basis. It has proven to be the key to finding our path to success. That is because of the connections and relationships that we have formed. It’s the experience of actually being among like-minded people, seeking solutions and building empires together with them.
You need to get connected to the business community of your industry so that you are aware of the latest trends and discussions. The typical trade show in the gym business has every conceivable vendor and brand in attendance and there is no better way to get to know your neighbors and the contacts that might just be the help that you need to get to the next level.
Fagan, Lawrence. Podcasts For Gym Owners And By Them Too. July 1, 2015. https://blog.gyminsight.com/3395-podcasts-for-gym-owners-and-by-them-too/ (accessed July 31, 2015).
IHRSA. Executive Education for Club Professionals. August 2015. https://www.ihrsa.org/institute (accessed July 31, 2015).