In business and in life, I find that you can’t have too many friends. That’s what’s so exciting about our upcoming trip to the National Rifle Association Annual Convention that is synonymous with whatever is cool and new in the outdoor industry.
First of all, my shooting and hunting friends that are not going are jealous. If you hunt or fish, it’s like a kid going into a candy store. I’ll do my best to remember all the cool, new stuff I saw so I can tell them about it when I get home.
Next are my friends that are going; clients, past clients, prospects and media folks. There is nowhere better than a trade show to reconnect with so many people in such a short time. While we’re there, we’ll be working with our clients in their booths, talking with their customers to better understand them. I really look forward to this time to spend time with the people who are so crucial to our business – our clients. They truly make or break our business. Many of them are good friends, some of whom I only see once or twice a year. It’s a great time to catch up.
We’ll also be meeting with prospective clients with whom I hope to initiate a business relationship, which then turns into a personal one. We try to set these meetings up before we go but sometimes it’s so hectic, you just have to catch people when you can. You never know when the next person you talk to could be your next client. I remember sitting on the plane next to a fellow when I was going out to our last trade show, who turned out to be the President of one of our prospects. And, although we haven’t brought them on as a new client (yet), I do have a new friend.
Media people are also friends on our agenda. We’ve developed many important relationships with publishers, editors, writers, and advertising salespeople over the years who have also become friends. We couldn’t do what we do without them and they can have a tremendous impact on getting our clients in the news and in leveraging their media buys. They are truly our partner in helping our clients communicate their stories.
And then there are just friends that work in the industry in some other way. We may not have a business connection (other than working in the same industry), but we do have connections in other ways.
I’ve been going to the NRA Convention for many years now. But I still can’t wait to enter the convention center, check out the massive signing welcoming guests to the show and heading down the aisles to see old friends and make new ones. It’s a thrill that I look forward to every year.
If you’re in the people business, there are so many people who can directly and indirectly affect your business. Wouldn’t you like to be doing business with like-minded people who you can say are your friends? I would. Will I see you at NRA? Hope so.