ISSE Long Beach is coming up soon and, of course I'm planning on attending, what with this competition thing I've gotten myself into and all. But around the biz, talk once again turns to tradeshows and what's good and what's bad about them these days. There seems to be some gigantic riff in perspective between the techs who do and don't attend tradeshows, and the exhibitors and would-be exhibitors who make the shows worth going to — or not. And, of course, I am just ready to puke from all the seething I end up doing whenever I get started on this. So let me share my insight with you (the BF is tired of hearing it):
Tradeshows suck because exhibitors keep giving us — the techs in the trenches — a line of BS excuses as to why they can't or won't support us at tradeshows: It's too expensive to exhibit at a show. Sales are down. Attendance is down. Nail techs don't buy at shows. Nail techs don't care. Blah blah blah. Wah wah wah.
HEY! Wake up! It's expensive to run a business. How do you expect us to believe you when you try to give us advice on being successful if you can't follow your own advice? Don't tell me I have to go to the tradeshows and seek out continuing education opportunities and invest my money into inventory and new products if you can't be bothered to show up at the damn shows.
Not only am I sick of hearing exhibitors whine about how expensive it is to be at a show, I'm sick of hearing about how you have a really cool "A" booth — that no one in the U.S. has ever seen. Because the shows overseas are "so much bigger and better" and "it's just not worth it to put up the 'A' booth here."
Thanks. Thanks tons. That just tells me that you don't think I'm worth the time and money to make me your customer.
You wanna know why U.S. techs don't care about you? Because you don't care about us.
I'm sorry it's expensive to exhibit. It's also expensive to attend. Yet many of us do keep going. But why would I stop by your booth if the people working it act like they have so much more important things to do than spend time with me? Why would I buy product at the show if it's not cheaper than buying it from my local distributor or online? Especially if I have to go through the hassle of carting it back home on a plane.
It has been absolutely years since I've attended a tradeshow and walked away feeling like most of the exhibitors wanted to be there. And every one of them I talk to is all too willing to gripe about the expense and the hassle of being there.
This is the exact same thing as me sitting at my nail table telling a client how pointless it is to come to work anymore. That no one wants to get their nails done these days and if they do, they all go to someplace cheaper and more convenient than me.
Guess what? If I talked like that to MY customers, I wouldn't have any customers either.
And stop comparing me to the hair industry unless you're willing to compare yourself to the hair industry! I'm tired of hearing about how the hair industry is so much more vibrant, cutting edge, progressive, and into the shows. Look at the hair exhibitors! Notice how they have stages? Notice how they have lights and music and ENERGY?! Notice how they put on a show for the attendees that draws them in and makes them think, "wow," while you are sitting behind your folding table covered with a white tablecloth that came with the cost of renting the space, eating your lunch and ignoring the people walking by. Great business plan there; how's that workin’ out for ya?
Take some pride in your exhibit. Put some effort into it. Make sure the staff is energetic and enthusiastic. And for crying out loud, STOP whining to your potential customers! Negativity breeds negativity. I can't believe you work in this business and you haven't figured this out.