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How to Get the Most Out of GIE+Expo 2019

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The biggest landscape event of the year is less than a week away. It’s GIE+Expo 2019 and you’re ready to rock it! It’s all about getting those last minute to-dos in before you leave behind the daily grind for a week. Hopefully a few of your key crew members are tagging along for a few days of learning, equipment envy and maybe a few too many beers.

If you’ve ever been, you know just how much there is to see and do. And unless you have a plan, you’ll end up leaving Kentucky with little more than a hangover and a backpack full of brochures and business cards.

Follow these three best practices to get the most value from your GIE+Expo experience.

1) Define your objectives for the show

Make sure everyone attending has spent some time learning about the show and bookmarking their ‘must do’ activities.

Are you there to…

  • research/purchase equipment?
  • attend the professional education opportunities?
  • learn from fellow landscapers?
  • provide key team members with an incentive trip?
  • a combination of the above?

We’re talking 1,000 exhibits spread out across 500,000 square feet of indoor space and 20+ acres of outdoor space. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the size and scale of the show so it’s important to decide why you’re going and/or sending each crew member down. And if it’s for a variety of reasons, be sure to list and prioritize them.

2) Create a plan of attack

Get together with your team prior to the show to plan your individual schedules, download the GIE+Expo app on the App Store or Google Play. The Personalized Planner feature will allow each person to plan their itinerary, add notes and tag favorite exhibitors and sessions.

Ensure everyone has the opportunity to attend one educational session that’s relevant to their job and that you’re scheduling time together as a group, whether that’s simply a daily meal or an afternoon visiting a target list of equipment dealers on the show floor. Speaking of meals, book your Louisville restaurant reservations asap to avoid long line-ups after a long day on your feet!

The mobile app’s interactive floor plan can be used to locate your favorite booths and download a personalized walking map to get around as efficiently as possible. To maximize your time and ensure objectives are met, book as many meetings with exhibitors in advance.

3) Market to the people back home

From indoor and outdoor equipment demos to a massive show floor and inspiring keynotes, GIE+Expo is the ultimate backdrop against which to promote your brand to current and prospective customers. It shows your business is eager to learn about the best the industry has to offer and bring it back to your customers. Plus, it promotes your team culture.

Be sure you’re active across your social media channels throughout the duration of the show. Post photos and videos and go LIVE across both Facebook and Instagram.

Use the following ideas to create images or video:

  • Stream an equipment demo LIVE
  • Take a few selfies or group shots in front of some big machines
  • Document a team dinner or team building activity
  • Post about a game-changing new product or technique you’ve learned
  • Interview a dealer about a specific product
  • Post a clip from a keynote

Be sure to read up on and follow social media best practices for each channel including the use of hashtags, e.g. #yourcityname #yourcitynamelandscaper, etc.

Encourage your team to jump on the social media bandwagon too. Whether they’re sharing their photos and video for posting on the business pages or posting to their own channels, create incentives that encourage participation. So, the person who posts or captures the most images/video wins a gift card or a paid vacation day, for example. Remember, these assets can be used to promote your business year-round.

What Happens in Kentucky, Shouldn’t Stay in Kentucky

(Ok, with the exception of that last night….)

Tradeshows like GIE+Expo are great opportunities to learn about the latest trends, check out new equipment, showcase your brand and promote team building. You should leave with a sore back, tons of ideas on how to improve your business and maybe even a few new pieces of equipment on order. When you get back to the office, make sure you get together and have everyone share what they learned. From there, make a plan to put those ideas into practice and you’ll get some great returns on your investment.

PS. Be sure to stop by LMN at Booth #296 for a guided tour of the best business management software for landscapers at GIE+Expo 2019!

PPS. Kick-off GIE+Expo at the LMN User Summit on October 16th from 7:30am-11:30am. It’s FREE but hurry, it’s almost sold out so register now.

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