This week is all about weddings and portraits, thanks to Andrew attending the WPPI (Weddings and Portrait Photographers International) tradeshow in Las Vegas this week. With around 11,000 photographers in attendance, row after row of tradeshow exhibits, and photographers scrambling to get a seat in some of the best training sessions around, it’s turning out to be quite the event.
If you are attending WPPI, or plan on attending any other tradeshow or seminar this year, what can you do to make sure you take back to your studio the most important nuggets? What can you do to make sure you get your money’s worth out of your training? Take a look at these suggestions.
1. Attend everything you can. If you’ve paid the attendance fees, and especially if you’ve traveled and have airfare/hotel/car expenses, it’s important to take in as much as you can. Sit down with the schedule and plan out every day.
2. Work through the expo as early as possible. Visit every booth, or at least the booths that have interest and relevance to your business. Collect literature, business cards and any deals or show specials that they are offering. Then sort through the content back in your hotel room. If you have no interest, throw it away at the hotel – no need bringing it home. If you have an interest in purchasing as a show special, make a special pile and spend a day or so thinking about it. Reserve the last day for revisiting booths you want to take advantage of offers. Also tuck a flat rate shipping box into your luggage already pre-stamped. Fill it with your literature, and drop it off at the front desk. They’ll be happy to put it into the mail, and you won’t have to tote it through the airport.
3. Bring plenty of business cards and a pen everywhere you go. A good rule of thumb is to bring 3 times as many cards as you feel you will need. Then trade cards with anyone who may be a good contact for the future. Write a quick note to yourself on the back of their card so you remember a detail or two about your conversation. Then tuck them into a safe place until you get back to your office.
4. Stay until the last event. So many people book flights out the night before the program ends, or the morning of the last event. And in the process they miss out on some of the best training of the entire show. Always stay through the last event, and beyond if possible.
5. Book strategizing time. After the tradeshow ends, plan on spending the afternoon by the pool or in a local coffee shop. Reread your notes from the training, and start strategizing for future business. What were you biggest a-ha moments? What do you want to implement immediately when you get back to the studio?
6. Make an impression. Yes, you are there to learn. You’ve paid for the conference, and you should be comfortable – especially in Las Vegas where you’ll be putting miles on every day. But you also want to stay professional. You never know whom you’ll meet, and how it will impact your business in the future. You may meet a future partner for your business, or an expert willing to bring you in to speak at his or her next tradeshow.
7. Follow up. I once attended a seminar early in my career. The speaker spent hours going over exactly how his business was set up. He stated he had no fear revealing all of his secrets, because he knew less than 5 percent would ever take any action on what they learned. I found that figure frightening, memorable – and true. You get busy when you get back to your routine, and the new things simply get tossed aside. Unless you make a commitment to putting some of your new knowledge to work, it will simply disappear.
Write down the five things you want to implement, then do it. Commit to getting it done, putting it into action, and having it work for you.