It comes only once every three years and takes the construction industry by storm. CONEXPO – CON/AGG is March 7-11 in Las Vegas and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to connect with customers and manufacturing partners, meet new professionals, and learn about new challenges, solutions, and opportunities for our industry.
With more than 2,500 exhibitors showcasing the latest innovations in equipment, products, and services, plus 150 educational seminars, it’s no wonder the country’s biggest construction show sees attendees from nearly all segments of the industry – and also why exhibitors plan their show strategy months, sometimes years, in advance.
We’re here to help you plan your show experience and ensure you get the most value out of attending CONEXPO – CON/AGG, with expert advice from three veteran attendees:
Josh Price, General Manager, RDO Integrated Controls
Mark Rieckhoff, Sales Manager, RDO Vermeer
Will Risinger, Sales Manager, RDO Equipment Co.
From optimizing your time to what you can expect from our manufacturing partners, here are our teams Top 10 tips for making your CONEXPO – CON/AGG experience a success.
1. Plan of Attack
CONEXPO is among the biggest tradeshows in the world. Especially for first-time attendees, the miles of booths, products, companies, and events can be overwhelming. All our experts suggest taking the time to plan out a show strategy.
“This is too large a show to just ‘hope’ you have time to see it all,” Rieckhoff says. He suggests reviewing the CONEXPO – CON/AGG interactive exhibitor maps to help plan a route.
Closely tied to planning a show strategy, a key piece in scheduling time is to prioritize it.
Price suggests taking the time to write down your goals for the show, “What companies you want to visit, what products you want to see, and any seminars or events you need to attend,” then planning time accordingly to ensure you can fit it all in.
3. Account for More Than Booths
Remember, this show is large – as you plan your time, don’t forget to account for walking to and from the show, and between booths and exhibit halls.
Risinger recommends taking advantage of the Las Vegas Monorail to and from the convention center, saying, “It’s the fastest way to get back and forth.”
On the flip side, keep in mind the additional hours you can allocate for business and pleasure. Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners are great opportunities for quick networking, more in-depth meetings with companies, or just enjoying downtime with other attendees.
4. Spread it Around
Speaking of exhibit halls, there are several. North Hall. South Hall. Outdoor Lots. CONEXPO – CON/AGG isn’t limited to one area; rather, it’s comprised of several indoor and outdoor areas.
“It’s easy to get caught up in everything and realize you’ve spent half your day in one hall,” cautions Price.
Rieckhoff agrees and recommends dedicating time to each hall in the overall show strategy, saying, “Split up your time by halls and days.”
5. Ask, Talk, Engage
Whether the goal is to learn or network, Price says one of the simplest pieces of advice he’d give to attendees is to talk.
“It’s amazing how many people stop by a booth and don’t ask questions or engage in conversation,” he says. “As someone who has spent time in the booth, I can tell you we’re eager and excited to talk to attendees! So don’t be hesitant to ask questions or just strike up a conversation.”
6. Watch and Listen
Risinger counters Price’s advice on being an active participant at booths with a reminder of the value of observing, specifically, your competitors.
“Spend some time around the competition watching and listening,” he advises. “You’ll take away better understanding of what your competition is telling customers about themselves and maybe even about you.”
7. Hidden Gems
Price refers to some of the smaller, lesser-known companies as hidden gems – and ones you’ll want to find.
“There are a lot of really small companies doing some really amazing things,” he said. “Even if what they’re doing might not apply to your business, it’s just a great opportunity to see different innovations and unique things other companies are offering.”
8. Get Social
Don’t forget to bring business cards. Yes, you’ll have your badge scanned at every booth and companies will be able to reach out to you after the show. But Risinger notes that most people still carry a few business cards and it’s never a bad idea to be prepared for the exchange.
Price agrees, and offers additional insight into why business cards are still tradeshow networking gold, saying, “If I get your business card, I have the opportunity to connect with you later that night or the next day during some downtime,” he explains.
Just as important the value of the tried-and-true business card, Price adds that making connections can go beyond the show floor.
“Several of our employees leverage social media, especially Twitter and LinkedIn, to engage with customers before the show, meet up at the show, and stay connected after,” he said, adding that attendees can follow the same practice to connect with companies and others involved in the show.
9. Take Small Bites and Chew
Rieckhoff’s biggest piece of advice comes in the form of an expression: Attending CONEXPO – CON/AGG is like eating an elephant. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
“What I mean is, don’t feel like you have to try to tackle the whole show at once,” he says. “Split up your trip over the days, stick to your plan, and you’ll be better able to enjoy your time.”
Risinger agrees, saying, “Pace yourself during the week. Most people have more than one day to visit the show so take your time and enjoy seeing all it has to offer.”
“And, it’s Vegas so it has to be said, don’t overdo it on late-night activities the first night,” Price cautions, with a laugh.
10. RDO Equipment Co. Partners
The RDO team is fortunate to work with the best manufacturers in the industry, three of which will be strongly represented at the show. Below, our team offers a quick sneak peek into what you can expect to see, learn, and discuss when you visit the John Deere, Topcon, and Vermeer booths.
John Deere Innovations
Visit the John Deere / Hitachi Construction booth in the North Hall, N12525. In addition to 38 machines and nearly 300 experts ready to discuss and highlight the latest construction technology, the John Deere booth includes a special Tech Experience area.
Risinger says he’s excited about the technology piece at John Deere’s booth, saying, “You’ll want to spend a lot of time here. This will be a focal point this year and there will be several takeaways you can bring back and implement in your business.”
There’s sure to be a mix of new products and unique solutions to see at Topcon’s booth in the North Hall, N12702.
“Topcon always releases a new product at CONEXPO,” Price said. “The team keeps a tight lid on it so we can’t say what it is, but know something exciting is coming.”
In addition to the unveiling of something new, Price says attendees are sure to see at least one or two products at the Topcon booth they won’t see anywhere else.
“You can go to a lot of booths and see the same stuff but there’s going to be some unique offerings at Topcon’s.” Price noted paving products like the RDM1 and RDMC Smooth Ride, and mast-less dozers as examples of unique draws.
Stop by the Vermeer booth in the Central Hall, C3-C5, booth C32627. Items on display include Vermeer Productivity Tools, Rock Lab, and many new products including the D10X15S3 HDD Directional Drill, the R250C Reclaimer, and a special treat: a look at Vermeer’s newest Horizontal Grinder.
“Vermeer’s booth will provide the opportunity to learn more about technology and on-the-jobsite product improvements,” Rieckhoff says. “We’re looking forward to showing attendees how to better control costs, improve profits, and enhance overall jobsite management.”
On behalf of the entire RDO Equipment Co. team, we wish you a successful CONEXPO – CON/AGG show. We hope to connect with, catch up with, and see many of you March 7 through 11 in sunny Las Vegas.
About the Author
Jessi Zenker is Communications Specialist for RDO Equipment Co. based in Fargo, ND. Connect with her at the show or beforehand on Twitter @RDOJessiZ.
To learn more about equipment, parts, and service for your business, contact your local RDO Equipment Co. store.