Although booth space is not inexpensive and the time it takes for travel, set-up, man, and take-down the booth is great….the time you get with your customers face-to-face….is priceless!
Back when I first starting attending the trade shows, the floors were a buzz with people taking orders, and deals being made. At night it was all about who could stay out the latest and how many clients you could entertain.
With the times, things have changed. Companies send less representatives, the customers being wined and dined are in smaller groups, many of us are older and out not nearly as late as we used to be. Money is tight and budgets are tighter, salespeople are traveling together. We’re all being smarter about where our money goes but with that being said….
We are all still there. Year in and year out the nurseries are setting up, putting their best foot forward, forcing plants to be green and blooming in the dead of winter to show our plants to garden centers and landscapers who will be looking for what we sell in the spring. Our key people (many times the owners themselves!) are in their booths, shaking hands, talking about the industry, commiserating over the economy and sharing ideas to get to the other side! This industry shares like I’ve never seen elsewhere. The nurseries come together…we refer customers to each other, we ship together, we share solutions to problems, we even advertise together when possible. (I am so proud to be a part of an industry that works together like a giant team!)
But the true spirit of the nursery is the customer….for without the customer….well…you know what would happen. Customers become important to you. You work with them each year, selling them what they need and learning who they are and about their families and what’s important to them. You make these “friends” and you miss them during the winter when the phones are quiet! That’s what the trade shows are all about! Bringing people together, to TALK to each other without email or cell phones…just an honest to God conversation! There is no better way to connect with your customers on a cold winter day! Personally, I can’t wait to get this next spring season underway! Hope to see you at the trade shows!