The NADA Show is right around the corner, and anticipation is high right now for attendees. There are busy schedules to arrange with all of the meetings and events on tap at the conference.
What’s most important to think about now, though, is what you’re going to bring back from the NADA Show that will impress your boss (unless you happen to be the boss!). After all, it’s quite the expense to attend the event, when airfare, hotel accommodations and other costs are taken into account. So, you don’t want to come back to the office empty handed.
With some preparation, though, both before and during the NADA Show, there are surefire ways not to come back only to disappoint, and instead shine.
Have a Plan Before You Go
First of all, talk to fellow employees and department heads who aren’t attending. Learn what their pain points are, and what vendors, educational sessions or training classes you can attend on their behalf to help give them a boost and assist the overall dealership.
When choosing sessions for yourself, be careful and selective. You might not be able to hit everything you would like to attend.
The Las Vegas Convention Center is huge, totaling 3.2 million square feet. When booking appointments, and choosing which sessions to attend, make sure beforehand you know where you’re going on a map and that you allow enough time to get to where you need to go. For example, a walk from a certain area of the Central Hall to the Westgate resort can take nearly 30 minutes. Don’t give yourself just five minutes to get from one to the other. You’ll show up late, or miss out entirely.
Take Notes, Gather Information … Then Summarize
When you hit the NADA Show sessions you’ve chosen, take copious notes. The more information you have, the better. If you think the sound quality will translate well later, use a recording device on your smart phone for future reference, but even so, write down main points as a backup in case the technology fails. A laptop, iPad, or similar device, would be helpful to bring, and you could also create templates, in PowerPoint or a similar program, of each session before you go with the speakers and topics already identified. Additionally, presenter PowerPoint presentations are sometimes available after sessions via an email request.
When hitting booths at appointments, or just passing by between sessions, there is bound to be plenty of collateral you’re going to want to pick up along the way that could be useful for future information at the dealership. Make sure to grab everything relevant, and bring a dedicated sturdy, yet pliable, bag in your suitcase specifically to tote these items.
Maybe most importantly, though, is that you distill all of that information so that it makes sense when you return to the dealership and isn’t just a random collection of thoughts that might not seem coherent days later. Take some time when you have a break, at the end of the day, or first thing in the morning, to write down an outline of the main points you think will best assist the dealership upon your return.
Bring Back Contacts and Act on Them
The NADA Show is a great chance to make contacts and network with peers in the dealership community and important vendors. Additionally, plenty of the speakers at the sessions will provide their contact information as part of their slide presentations in case you have questions afterword. Whether it be business cards or plugging contacts into your smart phone, make sure you get their emails and/or phone numbers.
Then, when you get back into the office, make sure you follow up with these new contacts directly and connect on social media sites. Their information doesn’t do you much good if you don’t actually get in touch with these potentially important leads. And even if you don’t currently need their advice or product, you can drop a line saying how much you appreciated their session or in-person time.
Take Care of Yourself at the Show
As you’re well aware, the NADA Show is being held in Sin City, which has rightfully earned that nickname. Hopefully you have several fun nighttime receptions lined up, which are also great networking opportunities. The point isn’t to avoid having a good time, the point is not to have too good of a time. If you’re up all night at the blackjack table, indulging in too much drinking and only eating grab-and-go fast food, coupled with logging an extreme amount of walking miles every day, it will no doubt wear down your body. The last thing you want to do is return from the NADA Show and immediately call in sick, which would definitely give the wrong impression. Drink lots of water, get as much sleep as your schedule allows, try hard to eat healthy and wear comfortable shoes. The schedule can also be very taxing and stressful, so set aside 10 minutes every now and then for yourself to clear your head and relax. NADA also has relaxation areas around the show floor, including one with massage chairs.
The NADA Show is a great opportunity to gain greater industry knowledge, make new contacts, meet up with existing ones, have fun, and come back to the dealership armed with information to improve business. Be prepared, and make the best of it!
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