Why Plumbing Professionals Should Be Attending Industry Trade Shows

The plumbing industry is always changing. To stay competitive today, it helps to know the latest technology, emerging trends and products that can put you ahead of the competition. And trade shows are a key educational platform that can help people in skilled trades do just that.

Hosted in different cities throughout the year, they’re a mecca of product knowledge and industry trend-watching. Here’s why attending trade shows is necessary for ongoing success and some tips for making the most of your time there.

HoldRite at AHR 2020 | HoldRite

Why Industry Trade Shows Are a Unique Opportunity

There are several experiences trade shows offer that you can’t get anywhere else.

  • You can discover new products. Explore solutions that could benefit your business/customers and talk directly with product managers and experts from leading brands.
  • You can build your network. Bounce ideas off of like-minded business professionals who are navigating the same challenges. Get tips from more seasoned experts or gain a fresh perspective from people in another segment of the industry. Networking not only opens the door for new ideas. It could also lead to potential partnerships.
  • You have access to exclusive educational opportunities. Be the first to know and discuss trends in the industry. You’ll also get caught up on the latest information, strategies and techniques from industry leaders. Common seminar and equation topics across trade shows include project management, professional growth, business management, sales & marketing, industry trends, emerging issues, trade show-specific topics and new technologies. Some even offer certifications and continuing education courses.
  • You can better understand what the future holds. With all the content focused on what’s predicted to shake up the industry, you can leave with a better idea of how to push your business forward.

The best part? You get all of this in one place.

Are Industry Trade Shows Accessible?

There are options for every budget. Some are free to attend, and others can get into the upper $1,000s. That’s usually for several days of learning, networking and activities. The trade show could be national or a local association chapter event.

How to make the most of your trade show experience

You’re officially registered. Now it’s time to plan your activities and seminars. But before you do, there are a few things you’ll want to have ironed out.

Getting to the Show

Organizing everything before you arrive will ease stress and mishaps and help you enjoy more of the event.

  • Know where the event site is and how close it is to where you’re staying. You may also want to know how far away it is to the nearest airport. To make traveling easier, you might consider staying at a hotel that has shuttle service to the event site. Check the trade show’s website to see what options they offer.
  • Get familiar with the public transportation in the area if you know you’ll use it to get to and from the trade show.
  • Know how parking works and if there’s limited space.
  • Plan to leave early to account for traffic or anything unexpected.

Getting around the Trade Show

The first thing you’ll want to do is determine which events you want to attend then plan accordingly.

  • Is there a particular speaker you want to hear? Or maybe a topic that would help fill a gap in your knowledge? Find what interests you and plan around those can’t-miss events.
  • Download the trade show’s app or online planner. You’ll usually find links to them on the event website. If there aren’t any, find the full schedule and create your own written agenda.
  • Then download the building floor plan and keep it up on your smartphone or print it so you can reference it when making your way to sessions and seminars.
  • Plan ahead for off-site events related to the show. Tours are often provided, and evening association events are common at trade shows. These are great opportunities to really get to know people and build industry relationships.

During the Event

  • Take notes! Bring a notebook or jot down key points and thoughts in your smartphone if you are attending seminars or break-out sessions. Oh, and please silence your devices. Don’t be that guy or gal.
  • Join the conversation online. Use and follow the event hashtag to make new connections both digitally and in person during the show.
  • Pace yourself. Some events are so large that without being mindful of all the ground you hope to cover, and the seminars you plan to see, you can easily run out of time and regret it later.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, otherwise your experience may not be very enjoyable.
  • Don’t haul around a heavy bag. Rely on digital information, rather than collecting tons of literature that you’ll have to pack in your bags and probably won’t read later anyway. Make sure you get scanned by vendors that you want to learn more about after the show.
  • Don’t be bashful about requesting appointments with vendors or potential business partners. They will be happy to accommodate you and make time to meet with you in their booths or at a pre-determined location in the facility. If you get a time slot, be sure to dress for success.
  • Don’t be “that guy” who stops in the aisle while taking a phone call or running into an old friend. Please, for the common good, step to the side. Help keep traffic flowing.

After the Event

  • Compile your notes and share them with your team.
  • Follow up with any new connections you made. You never know what kind of partnerships this could lead to.

Plumbing Trade Shows for 2020

Ready to put these tips to good use? Here’s what coming up.

  • MCAA Convention – March 15-19, 2020, in Maui, HawaiiCome visit us at Booth 69! RWC will be showcasing our family of brands. 
  • PHCC Flow Expo  March 21, 2020, in Pomona, California. 
  • ABC Convention  March 23-27, 2020, in Nashville, Tennessee. 
  • NFPA Conference & Expo – June 15-18, 2020 in Orlando, Florida.