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From March 8-11, health and fitness professionals from across the globe will gather in Los Angeles, California, for the 2017 IHRSA International Trade Show.
At the show, attendees will have access to more than 350 vendors and manufacturers spanning categories such as equipment, certifications, fitness accessories and much more. As a result, the show can be overwhelming for even the most experienced trade show attendee. How do you maximize your time?
With this in mind, Mike Feeney, the executive vice president of New Evolution Ventures (NeV), shared his trade show strategy, which begins with reviewing the vendor list. “Make a plan,” he said. “Set meetings and live to your schedule. Base your meeting plan on where vendors are on the floor. You don’t want to set a meeting on one side of the hall and the next on the other side.”
Feeney also advised to work the floor from left to right, or right to left. “I go through every aisle,” he said. “I do this multiple times.”
As he walks the floor, Feeney is sure to observe how people are interacting with certain vendors or pieces of equipment. “Stand outside a booth and watch what people do,” he said. “How do they get on a piece of equipment. Is it easy to operate or start? Tell sales people ‘no sales pitch. Don’t tell me how to use a piece of equipment.’ If you can’t figure it out, how do you expect your members to figure it out?”
Preparation is also key. “Come in workout attire. Get on it. Try it. Come back later and try it again. Trying a piece of cardio does not mean get on it for two minutes. If you really want to try a piece of cardio, do 15 to 20 minutes at a time,” he said. “Bring power bars or make sure you stop at a food booth. These are long days. Two full days is not enough time to do a good job.”
For Feeney, networking is also a must, in addition to having fun. “Talk to other club owners,” he added. “This is the one time of the year that you are going to see some of the smartest people in the club business. Take advantage of that. Make new friends. These are the people you will be able to call six month or a year from now and ask them a question.”