This monthly interactive series between Archery Trade Association members lets everyone explain and discover what helps build thriving businesses in the archery/bowhunting industry. Previous editions focused on sales, retailing, marketing and industry issues.
With the 2018 ATA Trade Show set to open Jan. 11, it’s time to register and prepare for three days of business. If you’re not sure the Show is worthwhile, or you just don’t know how to prepare, this article is for you.
The ATA interviewed three veteran ATA Trade Show attendees for tips and insights to make your trip productive and profitable. Our experts are:
– Melvin Wright (retailer), owner of M & M Archery Range LLC in Independence, Kentucky .
– Dotty Nelson (distributor), owner of Nelsons Arrows in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.
– Jonathan Clark (manufacturer), media/marketing director for Last Chance Archery LLC in Pendergrass, Georgia.
Here’s what they said:
1. How many years have you attended the ATA Trade Show?
Nelson's Arrows have attended the Show every year since it's beginning. Photo Credit: Nelson's Arrows via Facebook.
Wright: We began attending the ATA Show approximately seven years ago.
Nelson: I have attended the ATA Show every year since the ATA started it.
Clark: If I’m not mistaken, our first Show was in Atlanta, 2006. So, that would be 12 shows!
2. What value does your company get from attending the ATA Trade Show?
Wright: The Show gives me the ability to see new products and speak face to face with companies and their representatives to get a feel for their company philosophy and knowledge.
Nelson: I attend the Show to meet new dealers who are interested in my services. I also get to touch base with current customers to make sure they’re satisfied with my service.
Clark: We benefit from sales, brand exposure and face-to-face interactions with customers.
3. How do you prepare for the Show?
Before the Trade show, M&M Archery prefers to research the items and products that they might potentially stock or offer their customer base months before the first day of the Show. Photo Credit: M&M Archery Range via Facebook.
Wright: We research the items and products we might potentially stock or offer to our customer base months before the Show. I refer to outdoor shows and hunting magazines to conduct my research.
Nelson: At each Show I attend, I make notes on things the dealer asks. The next year I make sure I have everything covered.
Clark: We work to have as many new products to release at the Show as possible.
4. What do you look forward to the most at the 2018 ATA Trade Show, and why?
Wright: I look forward to the deals and products companies offer. The quantities and packages offered by some companies save me, on average, 10 to 20 percent. Deals put money back into my pocket to purchase and stock inventory, allowing me to make 30 to 45 percent more on products. For example, last year one of our bow companies offered free quivers with the purchase of specific products. I returned to my shop and sold 50 percent of those included items on the floor, and used the other 50 percent to kick off the spring season.
Nelson: At the 2018 ATA Show I’d like to contact dealers I’ve spoken to on the phone and meet walk-through dealers. The more people I meet and talk to, the more they understand my services.
Clark: We look forward to seeing our current customers, meeting new customers and releasing our new products. It’s always great to see familiar faces and meet new people. It’s also fun to release new products and see how well each one succeeds.
5. What tips do you have for new attendees at the Show?
Jonathan Clark, media/marketing director of Last Chance Archery replies, "A dealer can be easily overwhelmed if they don’t go in with a plan. Create a plan. Visit the current manufacturers you have relationships with to check out new products or upgrades, and know the new manufacturers you’re interested in before the Show." Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo.
Wright: Organize your thoughts and establish products you want to offer your customers. Then call the companies to set up a time to meet during the Show, if they provide that opportunity. That process saves time and relieves the aggravation of going through the aisles and being overloaded with offers. We also use the ATA mobile app and create a walking map that helps us navigate to our pre-selected booths. I also recommend retailers set a realistic budget and be smart about their purchases. If you load up on a single product, you might get stuck with something you can’t sell right away, which can be a disaster.
Nelson: Be prepared. Research exhibiting companies before you arrive, and visit the ones you must see to discover their deals once you’re there. Don’t waste a lot of time visiting. After you visit your must-see exhibitors, start at one end of the Show and walk up and down each aisle. Don’t walk around in circles or you might miss something.
Clark: Take time before entering the Show to form a plan of action and research the companies represented. A dealer can be easily overwhelmed if they don’t go in with a plan. Create a plan. Visit manufacturers you have relationships with to check out new products or upgrades, and know the new manufacturers you’re interested in before the Show. Don’t forget to leave time to check out each booth as you’re walking the Show floor. You never know what might be hiding, like the EZ Press at the Atlanta Show several years back.
Visit the 2018 ATA Trade Show page for more information.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact the ATA’s business office at (866) 266-2776 or (507) 233-8130.