Trade Show

15 ATA Trade Show Tips from a Longtime Attendee

This ATA member has some stellar advice on navigating the ATA Show thanks to his 25 years of Show experience.
Photo Credit: ATA

Author: Cassie Gasaway

Will Moulton, general manager of Mouldy’s Archery & Tackle in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, has been attending the official ATA Trade Show since its start in 1997. Before that, he was attending industry shows with his parents after they bought the shop in 1986. It’s safe to say he’s learned several things from his Show adventures, and he’s sharing his wisdom to help others be as productive as possible. Here’s what he had to say:

 

  • Arrive Early to Decompress and Plan

“A lot of shop owners are in a hurry because they’re running a business and they don’t have a huge staff. I get there early to decompress and get familiar with the surroundings. I check in, take a breather, look at my inventory and stuff, learn where things are located, and take a walk so I’m not stressed. I also get my badge and a Show floor map to star the booths I want to go to first.”

 

  • Approach the Show with the Right Mindset

“If you’re a dealer, you’re going to the Show to buy. It’s not a vacation; it’s a business outing. You won’t get a better price or deal 90% of the time after the Show. You have to be prepared to buy.”

Visit the A.R.R.O Hot Show to expand your product options and extend your buying experience. Photo Credit: ATA

 

  • Join a Buyer Group; Attend Their Show

“A top priority is the ARRO Hot Show. The vendors come in early and that allows me to go through the Show in a smaller area. I hit key manufacturers first to get my programs and terms. Then, if I have questions, I go to the ATA floor the first day to follow up. I have no clue how any archery dealer in the country survives without being a part of a buy group. Dealers need to become a buy group member.”

 

  • Negotiate to Get the Best Terms

“Know that you have to broker those deals to get the best terms. Terms are so important. Sometimes you can get free freight or a dating program where they let you bring the product in early and pay for it later. Do business to benefit your business. Save money and get the best terms.”

 

  • Bring These Items with You

“I’ve learned you must have your sales data available. Bring comfortable shoes and clothes so you’re prepared to work the Show. I still bring a stack of business cards and hand a lot of those out, too.”

Attend Masterclass sessions, Seminars, or Coffee Talks hosted by industry experts. Photo Credit: ATA

 

  • Attend the Education Opportunities

“I love the educational classes in the morning. I know it’s early, but it’s worth getting up for. Take advantage of it and the experts there. Bring that knowledge back to your shop.”

 

  • Do Your Inventory Before the Show

“Doing your inventory prior to the Show is critical. You need that information. I couldn’t go down there without doing my inventory first.”

 

  • Have Your Sales Data Ready

“I have access (to my sales data) through my laptop, but I bring a three-ring binder of my annual physical inventory. I have it with me at all times so I can make a decision on product and pricing. You have to be prepared when you get there because some of these deals are time sensitive.”

 

  • Talk to Everyone, Everywhere You Go

“Strike up conversations because everybody down there is there for that Show. You can sit down and meet a shop owner or manufacturer and have some of the best conversations that you’ve ever had and not even expect it.”

 

  • Have a Positive Attitude, Bring Your Energy

“It’s a long three or four days. You have to have a positive attitude. That’s big. Sometimes you go and talk to certain people and they have a negative attitude that bleeds off on others, and that can work against you. Find a way to be positive.”

 

  • Make a Top 10 List; Meet with Them First

“Every business knows the manufacturers they want to meet with first. The top 10 list. I think it’s super important to go to that list and meet with them and shake their hand; that’s how you’ll get best deals. The sheer size of the Show is overwhelming. You have to realize that you’re never going to stop at every booth; you can’t. Get that business done on Buyer Day.”

See as much of the Show Floor as you can! Photo Credit: ATA

 

  • Walk the Entire Show Floor

“Walk the entire floor. There are little gems everywhere. You can’t start a conversation at every booth, but you can walk the entire Show floor. Visit the Innovation Zone and New Product Launch Showcase to get the bird’s-eye view of the Show floor.”

 

  • Eat … Good Food

“If you want to spoil yourself or bring your manager somewhere special for a reward, go to St. Elmo’s Steakhouse. Make a reservation now. It’s a great steak place. It’s close to all the hotels and they have a really good shrimp cocktail with homemade horseradish. Weber Grill also has good meals.” 

 

  • Schedule Meetings Carefully 

“Networking is huge down there. Most of the good reps will reach out to you prior to the Show and set up a time if you need to discuss something. That’s a double-edged sword. It’s good to set times if you have something specific to discuss, but sometimes setting up times can be a little difficult because you don’t know what you’ll get involved with on the Show floor and all of the sudden you have to leave for a meeting. If you like meetings and your rep doesn’t reach out, contact them before you go.”

 

  • Take Part in Evening Activities

The after-hours stuff is valuable. We do a lot of dinner outings with our sales reps and manufacturers. It’s a great opportunity to network with other people and learn a lot. Everyone down there is there to do business, so you’re not out all night. Manufacturers and dealers have to be up the next morning, but our industry was built on that stuff.”

The ATA Trade Show is a members-only event. You must join the ATA or renew your membership to register and attend.

Once your membership is current, log in to your MyATA Member Dashboard using your username and password. Click “Register and Book Hotels” and follow the prompts to register for the 2023 Show. Once you’ve registered, you will receive the link and information on booking your hotel via email. The deadline to book rooms is Dec. 23. The deadline to book reservations of 10 or more rooms is Nov. 10.

For registration questions, please contact Sarah Haala, Trade Show coordinator, at sarahhaala@archerytrade.org or (507) 233-8131.

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