In a recent letter to the editor of a major industry trade magazine the president of an industry-leading manufacturer and exhibitor suggested that better screening SHOT Show® attendees would result in a better show experience for attendees and exhibitors alike. I couldn’t agree more. The biggest opportunity to screening out non-buyers who are not engaged in the industry (consumers) lies with the exhibitors and attendees themselves.
How can that be? Even if you count every manufacturers’ rep and company staffer working the booth, that still leaves a lot of room for non-buyers — who have a place at an industry trade show and conference — ranging from lawyers to engineers to investors to suppliers. That also leaves a lot of room for fraternity brothers, college roommates, cousins, former neighbors, well, you get the picture.
And on the attendee side, there are retailers who bring some of their most loyal customers as a reward or perquisite of sorts. Some retailers bring customers who have a specialized knowledge to lend a hand in sorting out newer or lesser known products. And some still bring their extended family to make the week of SHOT Show a working vacation.
Some folks have suggested that we limit the number of credentials issued according to the square feet of exhibit space or in the case of retailers per $100,000 in sales. Others believe that only those with an FFL should be permitted to attend. Both ideas and others have merit however in practicum bring with them a whole new set of challenges.
We have been implementing additional screening layers to help remove non-qualified attendees (those without a legitimate business purpose) at considerable cost with limited results. So with this blog entry I’m asking for the industry’s help in cleaning up our collective act. We need those of you who bring non-qualified persons to SHOT Show under the guise of being exhibit staff or part of your retail store’s sales or purchasing staff to take a hard look at the qualifications of those you bring to the 2013 SHOT Show and join us in being part of the solution to the non-qualified attendee issue rather than part of the problem.
Thanks for your help.