Saturday, June 18, 2011

It's Show Time!

I recently had the opportunity to attend the NBM Sign & Graphics show in Indianapolis as an exhibitor along with a co-worker for my day job. If you don't already know, I work in the art department at a bronze and aluminum plaque casting foundry.

Over the years, I have attended only two other similar events, both of them in high school - a tractor and farm show (my father is a farmer) and a dance convention (yes, my mother is a dance teacher)both of which I was only an attendee. I was excited about the opportunity to attend this show from an exhibitor standpoint and because it had many other exhibitor booths that sold products, supplies and materials for the type of sign and graphics business I do from home. I guess you could say I signed up with a bit of a double intent.

On each of the three days the show started out a bit slow but as the day progressed more buyers began to filter in. A few of our existing customers stopped by to visit and it was nice to finally be able to meet some of them face to face. Each day we worked to inform potential interested buyers about our products and set up new business relationships that will hopefully lead to future ongoing sales.

Although I generally have a fairly outgoing personality, I usually have to give myself a little pep talk to get going in a new and unfamiliar situation. It's always hard for me to put myself out there and strike up conversation with total strangers so this was a perfect opportunity for me to work on my people skills.
I gradually got into my customer service 'groove' and we acquired about 6 new contacts/potential dealers each day of the show and spoke with many more.

When our booth was slow, I got the chance to wander around and check out all the other interesting booths that were there. With roughly three sections containing garment/apparel/embroidery, awards/gifts/promotional items, and signs/graphics/printing I spoke with a few representatives (some of them even showing me how their product worked) and picked up several catalogs and a few samples for my future reference.

After we finished up for the day we had a few hours to walk around down town and explore Indianapolis. We walked to the square, saw the trains inside of the Crown Plaza hotel, did a little shopping in Circle Center mall and ate at some interesting restaurants. I really enjoyed the city and the new experience, and I learned about some new products that some day I can possibly include in my sign shop. (That is if I can save up enough money to to actually open my sign shop!) Until then, I'm looking forward to the chance to go back to Indy when I have more time to enjoy the city.

Until next time ~