Good morning, and welcome to Dealer Expo. This is the 39th "running of the dealers," and the show organizers try to make improvements every year so the dealer's experience remains a good one. But it takes a little self-discipline from you as well.
First of all, you can't go into Dealer Expo without a plan of attack. There are nearly 1,000 exhibitors here representing more than 1,100 different companies. It's impossible to spend quality time with all of them, so carefully select the exhibitors with which you need to spend some time. Remember that the exhibitors are busy, too, so allow some time in case you need to make an appointment or come back later.
The big February issue of Dealernews, which contains the Official Show Directory, includes listings of all the exhibitors, where they're located and the types of products they sell. If you haven't yet reviewed the Directory, get yourself a copy (models are handing them out throughout the Convention Center and the Westin), go get a cup of coffee, sit down and use it to plan your weekend.
If you've had the foresight to bring others from your staff, give each of them an assignment — one can take care of helmets, another can find new exhaust systems, etc. Establish a meeting time at the end of the day and a particular meeting place so you can huddle up as a team and plan your next day's activities.
That being said, remember to give yourself enough time during the day to just browse the aisles. You never know when you'll come across that great new product you never knew existed before today.
We can't say this enough: Wear comfortable shoes. If you brought new hard-soled shoes, then I recommend going over to the mall and buying something more along the lines of a running shoe that you can tolerate walking around in for several hours at a time.
You also need something to put all the literature, samples and other stuff exhibitors are handing out this weekend. A backpack is perfect; it's out of the way, easy for getting through crowds and not too hard on the body. As an alternative, AFX is sponsoring tote bags for the dealers, and I know that several exhibitors will be handing out their own shopping bags.
Sure, it may be cold outside, but I guarantee that once you get in the exhibit halls it's going to be pretty warm. Check your coat before you start walking into the exhibit areas; it sure beats lugging it around all day.
All that walking and talking is going to dry you out, so stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water, and lay back a bit on the caffeinated and alcoholic varieties.
You'll also get hungry, and there are lots of choices around the show, plus a number of restaurants within walking distance of the Convention Center. Just don't eat so much that it bogs you down — you're going to be real busy for several hours after you eat lunch.
Have a good show, and remember to stop by the Dealernews booth and Top 100 Gallery in the main lobby.