Roofing Trade Show Season Is Here!
As the lazy days of summer continue to heat up, so does the roofing trade show season. Since earlier this year when the International Roofing Expo held its first virtual event due to COVID-19, industry professionals have been readying themselves to return to physical show floors and have those valuable interactions face to face. “What we’re hearing across the industry is that there’s a pent-up demand for everyone to get back together in person,” said Shelby Snelson, IRE show manager with Informa Markets, to Roofing Contractor.
Whether you’ve never attended a roofing trade show before or you’re a seasoned veteran, we have some important tips for maximizing your time and efforts at these important industry events — particularly in a post-pandemic environment!
We can’t stress this enough, for several reasons:
- As with any in-demand event, you should prepare in advance in order to meet registration deadlines, book hotel rooms before they sell out, and make your travel arrangements (not to mention get in on any early-bird bonuses). Plus, with several shows returning to in-person attendance this year, demand is expected to increase. Set aside some time for researching the shows and making your plans.
- COVID-19 has made a lasting impact on these events; each show will have its own rules and restrictions for staying safe as well as certain changes — for example, IRE is doing away with opening morning lines by going digital for registration. Make sure to educate yourself ahead of time on any new safety and social distancing protocols and requirements for every show you plan to attend.
- Define your goals. What are you hoping to get out of each show you attend? New job leads? Innovative roofing solutions? Strategies for better managing your business? Connections with experts in the industry? Identify the areas that will benefit you the most and use them to help determine your daily schedule.
- Trade shows are BIG, and you don’t want to find yourself wandering aimlessly without an efficient plan of attack. Show programs, floorplans, etc., are made available well in advance; use these resources to your advantage.
- Hunt out all the digital advantages — download conference apps, look up event hashtags and save them in your social media account search preferences, and enable notifications for your top-priority appointments so you’ll instantly learn about any last-minute changes.
Network, Network, Network
At a typical roofing trade show, you’ll encounter a wide range of service providers on the floor — a fantastic chance to make new connections in the industry and possibly earn some potential clients. Allow enough time to visit as many of their booths as you can and exchange information. You never know; one of them might be the next partnership that gives you an edge over your competition!
Take Good Notes
As much as you may want to just soak everything in and trust in your memory, make sure you discipline yourself to jot down a few notes at each encounter. “It’s way too easy to get overloaded with information on a show floor and end up with a pocketful of business cards that you can’t even remember why you took,” says Jef McCurdy, National Training Manager at Castagra. Take a few moments to write down pertinent details (neatly; don’t scribble!) so you’ll know exactly whom you want to follow up with after the show, and why.
Look For Discounts
Many vendors, perhaps even ones you already use, offer special show discounts and programs. Consider ordering during the show to take advantage of these one-time-only discounts and other offerings.
It’s true that trade shows are a great way to meet up with your old friends in the industry and to get to know some new ones. However, the more times you stop on the floor to have a “quick” chat is less time you’ll have to attend learning sessions and hear from key speakers. Have fun, yes; just remember your goals, keep track of your time, and always keep what you want to get out of the experience as your primary focus.
Don't Overdo It
In the same vein as maintaining focus, it’s important to realize when you may be having a little too much fun. Trade shows offer lots of opportunities for socializing after hours, and you certainly wouldn’t be the first attendee to have partied just a bit too hard. Before heading out for the evening, keep your eye on your show goals for the next day, set an "end-of-night" reminder, and stick to it — you'll thank yourself in the morning!
Relax and Enjoy Yourself
I know — we just advised you to be careful about having too much fun, and now it may seem like we’re saying the opposite. Here’s the truth: many contractors put too much pressure on themselves when it comes to trade shows. They set unrealistic expectations by resolving to walk away with far too many new leads or potential partnerships. If you do this too, you’ll set yourself up for disappointment before you’ve even stepped onto the show floor.
Start each show day looking forward to the knowledge you’re going to gain and the people you’re going to meet. Get psyched about getting your name out there and talking to others about what you do. And don’t make it a requirement to walk away from every single conversation with a live lead. You’ll relax more with less pressure weighing on you, you’ll have an easier time striking up conversation, and you’ll have a much better time overall!
Whatever your specific business goals are, don’t underestimate the value of a friendly trade show conversation that doesn’t lead to an immediate transaction. Every interaction you have during a show is a unique chance to learn about new products, new processes, and new ideas, and any one of these can spark incredible opportunities for you and your business. That’s something to truly get excited about!
Check out Castagra's Event Calendar to see which roofing trade shows we'll be at for the 2021-2022 season! Make sure to stop by and say hi!
Upcoming 2021-2022 Roofing Trade Shows
August 10-12, 2021
Mandalay Bay Convention Center (Las Vegas, NV)
September 15-20, 2021
Sheraton Phoenix Downtown & Phoenix Convention Center (Phoenix, AZ)
September 21-23, 2021
The Mirage (Las Vegas, NV)
December 9-10, 2021
Rosen Centre (Orlando, FL)
February 1-3, 2022
Ernest Morial Convention Center (New Orleans, LA)
March 1-3, 2022
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (Atlantic City, NJ)
September 27-29, 2022
Fort Worth Convention Center & Omni Hotel (Fort Worth, TX)