January 2011 Newsletter

Local Product Shows – More Than a Sales Opportunity

**** The 4specs Perspective

Reprinted with permission by Royce A. Wise, Architect, AIA, CSI, CCS
originally appeared in the Orange County (CA) CSI Newsletter

Local Product Shows – More Than a Sales Opportunity

As an Architect and Specifications Writer, I question construction products manufacturers' reliance on investing in national product shows vs. investing in local shows (or cutting back on local presentations). Thousands of dollars spent on a national show would get very good mileage when spent on many local shows, and would allow local or regional manufacturers' representatives direct contact with their target audience. Most architects do not attend national industry conventions/product shows unless held in their local areas.

Case in point: The Orange County Chapter CSI Annual Construction Products and Services Expo that was held on September 14. Even though lighter than normal in attendance, it brought out a better quality and broader representation of professionals - 23 architects and project managers, etc. representing 20 firms, 17 independent and "in-house" specifications writers, 16 inspectors, lawyers, and engineers, many others who are industry related.

Our goal, and that of most of our exhibitors, goes well beyond being able to tally a large number of attendees dropping by their exhibits with projects ready to go. Renewing, extending or adding to relationships was the most echoed theme of those with whom I had conversation. Face to face contact for the first time, or after a long period of time, or after having talked on the telephone many times without having met the person, is most valuable in establishing and maintaining relationships of trust and service.

Marketing during our current economic downturn is tough on budgets. Looking back for what went wrong is a critical necessity in budgeting, but looking forward to what needs to be done to improve future sales requires that marketing dollars be carefully placed to keep products, representatives" faces and capabilities before architects and specifiers.

This article has discussed reasons for industry participation in local product shows, but also needed is a receptive audience. Architects and specifiers, in order to accommodate the requirements of their clients, need to be familiar with products available and know who the reliable contacts are who will give them honest and accurate information. We need both a trusting relationship with local industry representatives and access to the Web.

Royce A. Wise, Architect, AIA, CSI, CCS

4specs maintains a list of local CSI Chapter shows updated from time to time. If you know of any shows, let me know and I'll add them to the list:
http://www.4specs.com/chapter_shows.html

Questions and comments are always appreciated.

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Colin Gilboy
Publisher - 4specs
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