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May 14, 2012

Embrace the Exhibitors

A few weeks ago, I wrote about brushing up your “elevator pitch” as you get ready for some of the Spring conferences.

Let me make another suggestion to help you get the most out of your ‘investment’ of time of money in those events: Embrace the exhibitors!  That’s right… build time into your schedule to proactively meet with all of these “salespeople!”  Go ahead, it won’t kill ya.  In fact, I submit that it could be one of the most productive aspects of your time at the conference.  Here’s why:

  1. The newest products and services come from these vendors, particularly in the area of technology.  Sit through demonstrations, gather information, etc.  You can benefit by learning about them sooner than later.
  2. Get a peak at what’s coming.  In your discussions with these vendors, not only will they show what they currently have, but they will all brag a little and tell you what they’re working on for the future – giving you some insight and ideas.
  3. You’re employed by one firm.  But these vendors work with hundreds of similar companies.  Their broad experience provides them with lots of best practices that they’ll happily share with you and help to make you better.
  4. At the very least, make sure to thank these vendors.  What they pay to exhibit and sponsor segments of the conference dramatically offset what you pay as an attendee.

So in between all the learning sessions and cocktail hours, carve out some time to meet with the vendors… they are your absolute best source of industry information.  And that kind of information can give you a competitive advantage.

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