Where is everybody!
By Antony Powath:
There is no doubt in my mind that there are more tyre industry shows these days than perhaps 10 years ago.
However, it is important to note that the tyre industry has been evolving over the years and it wants to show off its new products. New technologies are turning tyres into sophisticated products that are designed to ensure our safety and comfort.
The industry wants to update customers about its products and processes. The ideal way to do it is to participate in industry events and expositions. It expects the number of visitors to grow all the time.
To cater to this rising demand, a large number of event companies are organising expositions all over the world. They provide platforms for the tyre industry which also wants to know first hand customer feedback.
The technical team in the tyre companies want to watch out new tyre building machinery, moulds, testing machinery, mixing mills, chemicals and other materials that they require. It is the same story for a tyre dealer whose marketing team along with a few technical executives attend the expositions to meet the end users, to get real time feedback.
In this context, I would like to assert how important it is for tyre companies to evaluate in which shows they should participate. Exhibition organisers understand the industry demand and are trying to do partner with them.
The common goal is to get more visitors to the show. They partner with various media houses such as ours to spread the news about the event and have meaningful discussions.
I remember around 15 years ago when I went to China for an exhibition I saw visitors streaming into the innumerable booths looking up at displayed products and collecting the brochures. However, I noticed that not all of them had attended the show to find new business partnerships.
Many had come for the freebies. Be it a bag, pen, water bottle etc! They carry the complimentary bags from various booths and stuff them with product catalogues. One of my friends who I met during a tyre exhibition said that he had to keep one person to look after the pens he was handing out, as there were some people who would come and take 10 pens in a row!
The good thing nowadays is that the organisers make attempts to screen the visitors. Some charge a nominal fee to enter the exhibition. Such restrictions have helped in reducing the number of non-business visitors.
The result is that on such occasions one could expect to get more quality visitors who want to learn more what the exhibitors are showcasing. There could also be more productive business meetings.
It is important that expo organisers should strive to find a fine line between having visitors wanting to do business and the fringe crowds who come solely to collect freebies. I would also want those manning the booths to respond to queries of the business visitors.
I have often found that at many booths, the exhibitor works on his/her laptop and they hardly give a glance at the visitor who may want to make inquiries or raise queries.
Such an attitude puts off even a genuine visitor. I find that such attitude towards quality visitors could be counterproductive. For the company it could be an important opportunity that is lost.
Once the work is done on the laptop, those manning the booth find that there are not enough visitors around. They then blame the show organisers that the exposition was not a great event as promised. They might even say that it was not worth spending their time and money at such shows.
In this day and age of the internet, we are less connected face-to-face than before. We need to spend more time to engage with the visitors, even if some of them may not give us any business. They may provide us with strands of information that we may not have known through our business circles.
It is heartening to see that some exhibitors employ an extra person at the exhibition booth to solely look after visitors. They let them feel welcome, and connect with them till the right person is free to meet. In this way they can meet with potential business catalysts or source of useful information.
Stop looking to connect with people only on social media. Connect with people face-to-face. Such a connect will be productive and positively good for the company. The results will be much higher and rewarding.