This year, the TIA conference is taking place at the Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa, in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’ll run April 5th through April 8th, and the trade show floor is completely sold out – meaning a packed conference for all attendees.
If you’re attending, you might be wondering the best way to get the most out of your time at the conference.
Since this is the largest gathering of broker-based 3PLs, you should show up prepared to network, learn the latest trends and technologies available, and of course, potentially gain new business partners.
10 Things to get the most out of the show
- Spruce up your LinkedIn profile ahead of time. Make sure your profile picture is up to date, and that you’ve got up to date information on the page as well. Add the LinkedIn app to your phone now, before the conference, so you have a few days to learn how to use it.If you meet a vendor or attendee who’s a great match, you’ll be able to easily look them up and add them on LinkedIn. This will make it easy to follow up with them after the conference, and will make you memorable for having reached out.
- Bring at least twice as many business cards as you think you’ll need. The last thing you want is to run out halfway through, and not be able to give one to a prospective partner or client that you want to connect with.
- Attend the show with a specific goal or goals in mind. Rather than wander aimlessly around the conference floor, look through the floorplan ahead of time. Map out which vendors are likely to have solutions you’d like to check out (or who might be announcing something new), and visit them first.By the end of the show, a lot of names and faces may run together, so meeting with the high priority vendors first will help you stick out. Utilize that recently refreshed LinkedIn profile to connect with them then and there on the show floor – and then follow up again after the show has ended!
- Attend the seminars – and make sure to sit in the front row. Not only does it make it much, much easier to hear and follow along, but you’ll be easily visible to the speaker, too. Connecting with the speakers can be a smart career move, or provide you with more opportunities after the show.
- Also while at the seminars, make sure to talk to the people around you before the speaker reaches the stage. The entire reason you’re at the conference is to network, right? So keep your cell phone in your pocket, and try shaking hands and talking to the attendees around you.
- Be prepared for chance encounters with industry leaders – check out the influential people on LinkedIn, and have a few easy, personable questions ready in case you run into someone at the coffee maker. Don’t jump immediately into a sales pitch; instead, ask about the latest project they worked on or an article they published recently. It’s a great way to connect and leave a great impression, rather than attempting to sell them on what you offer.
- Show up early – to everything! It’s a great way to meet the speakers, vendors, or other motivated attendees. The early bird gets the worm – and the easy access to thought leaders. Simply showing up early to a seminar might mean you get to talk with someone who’s normally inaccessible in a crowd of interested attendees.
- On the same note, avoid “hovering” – if you’re going to talk to someone, walk right up and say hello. Nothing makes a speaker or industry leader more nervous than seeing a possible stalker nearby, even at a logistics event. It makes you seem nervous, and by the time you do work up a strategy to say hello, the person you’re trying to talk to has probably already thought of their exit strategy from the conversation.If the person is already talking to someone else, walk up and stand within conversation range while you wait politely for a chance to jump in. If it seems like a personal conversation, walk away and find someone else to say hello to. Either start up a conversation, or don’t – just don’t hover!
- Don’t forget to pack your essentials: things like water, breath mints, a hair brush, or eyedrops can become more valuable than you ever realized. Stay hydrated, and keep up on breath mints rather than sticks of gum. Chewing gum when you’re trying to talk can be extremely off-putting to the other person – and you want to leave a good impression. The same goes for staying well-groomed and smelling pleasant. Don’t bathe in your cologne or perfume, but have it handy for a quick spritz mid-afternoon if the convention center has gotten warm.
- Follow up with the people you want to maintain contact with after the show each night. Send an email or LinkedIn connection request at the end of the day you actually met the person. This helps cement who you are in their mind, and sets you apart from other attendees who wait a week or more after the show to reach out. It’s more work, and you’ll be up a little bit later than you might like after the happy hour drink specials, but it can have a major impact on how the other person perceives you and your business.
Don’t forget to swing by the 3PL Systems booth!
Of course, while you’re at the TIA conference this year, don’t forget to swing by our booth and say hello. We’ll be showcasing the next big thing for Transportation Management Systems, and you won’t want to miss it.