Attending Industry Events - Revisited

Late last year, I wrote an article called “The Importance of Attending Industry Events.” This was, in part, a way to introduce the INDEAL/WPF Management Conference and remind dealers about the annual INDEAL Champions Conference. Those two larger events, as well as NeoCon have already passed. I hope you took advantage of attending or sending someone to one or all of these events. These industry events typically get most of the attention, however, I’d like to discuss the benefits of also attending

smaller ones and, on a more regular basis.

Let me start by giving you a list of some of the benefits people receive by attending industry events:

  • You never know who you might meet

  • It helps you become known/identified as an expert or, at the very least, an active participant in your field - industry events increase your personal and company’s brand awareness. Your presence at an industry event, on a regular basis, identifies you as a player.

  • In-person connections are powerful

  • It’s a fun way to do business

  • Discover industry needs and new market opportunities

  • Gain fresh ideas and perspectives

  • Develop new skills

  • Exposure for your business

  • Receive advice from peers or industry experts

  • Inspiration

  • Receive a fresh or different perspective

  • Find unique solutions to problems

Aside from what’s listed above, what do you miss by not attending?

  • Networking

  • Maintaining relationships

  • Learning the rules – how the industry works

  • Best practices

  • New trends and industry requirements

  • New market opportunities

  • Ongoing education and new skills

  • Marketing tools

Many events may come with a price tag, but most of INDEAL’s are free or very reasonable in cost. Consider the number and types of events in which you and other members of your company can participate:

  • Online INDEAL management training

  • Onsite INDEAL management overviews

  • Online INDEAL sales and design overviews

  • Onsite INDEAL sales and design overviews

  • Online Champion training

  • Monthly Champion roundtables

  • Annual online dealer principal reviews

  • INDEAL Latitude dealer leadership roundtables

  • Onsite dealer/supplier INterActions

  • Ongoing INDEAL U webinars

  • Live onsite INDEAL U sales skills training

  • Dealer consulting and evaluation

  • INDEAL’s social media networks

Attending and actively participating in industry events should be part of everyone’s overall business growth strategy, regardless of the role they have at a company. The more people grow their network, the more times they seem to be in the right place at the right time for opportunities. As the old saying goes, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

At the end of the day, profit is important to every business. Management tries to invest in activities that have a positive impact on its bottom line. You should be able to identify the R.O. I. (return on investment) for attending any event; large or small. We all make choices on how we use our time. Investing time and money to go to an industry event, more often than not, can influence the decisions we make and the path we take.

Participating in industry events provides attendees with the opportunity to talk to others in their field. Sharing ideas with people you may never have met outside of the conference or online meeting can give you a new outlook. Conversations help stimulate new ideas that you can bring back to your business. It’s easy to have tunnel vision and forget to think out of the box, but events, large and small, are the perfect way to step back and entertain new scenarios.

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” – Maya Angelou

Jim Heilborn is a business consultant specializing in the office furniture/products industry, working nationwide with dealers, manufacturers, and service providers. Jim has been associated with INDEAL for eight years, specializing in training and dealer development. For more information, he can be contacted at, or by phone at 916.434.8711.