“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
Vegas is less than a week away. My question to you: are you going to approach this trade show the same as you have the last five years, or are you going to have different goals to better prepare you for the changes that will be impacting your business/earnings? It is my opinion that the people who will thrive the most in subsequent years will adapt to change the most in 2011, and PPAI Vegas is a great place to start.
Three things you should do in Vegas
- Seek out the thought leaders and ask them questions. Whether they’re VP of Sales at a supplier or even a competing distributor owner, information is power–and the more information you gather and the broader your perspective, the more prepared you are to execute your plan. Identify the core trends that impact the industry and seek out different ways people are leveraging or mitigating these trends.
- Identify a strategy for growing your business over the next five years. For you to thrive, your thinking needs to evolve from product-centric to solution-centric. If you still believe that having the best product ideas or product knowledge is a key point of differentiation, you will really struggle to retain your customers.
- Get smarter. Take advantage of the Technology Pavilion as well as PPAI education. I know that spending more time in these venues will better prepare you for the next five years than asking to see new product or collecting catalogs. Go by and visit the new technology providers… Promo Labs is rolling out an industry-changing sourcing and proposal solution. Additionally, I know the social experts will be having a lot of conversations about how to increase sales in the education sessions.
Two things NOT to do in Vegas
- Collect catalogs. For goodness sake, save a few trees. (And shame on you suppliers–quit feeding the animals and stop printing these things. You’ll save some money that you can put back into inventory. I can assure you that your sales won’t drop.)
- Play angry blackjack. I can speak from experience on this one. Getting mad at the cards is exactly what your casino host wants you to do. If you see me playing and you sense that I’m getting angry at the cards, I give you permission to tackle me and put me in a headlock.
In all seriousness, I really encourage you to take a different approach to Vegas in 2011. This can be a great few days to establish some strong momentum for your business, but you need to change your strategy from “products and catalogs” to information and technology.
See you at the tables!