Getting to the show

Getting to McCormick Place, the largest convention center in the United States, which is located at 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, is relatively easy from both the Hyatt Regency Chicago, which offers an express bus at no cost to show attendees, and the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, which is attached to the convention center.

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Also, The Car Wash Show™ has set up a special deal with Uber, a transportation service that connects a passenger with a driver via text message or through an app, in which a free ride is given to or from the show. Use the code CARWASH100 to get the free ride. To set up a pick-up, visit https://www.uber.com. According to the International Carwash Association® website, use the code “to get a free first ride to or from The Car Wash Show™! In under five minutes, a car will be curbside, ready to take you wherever you need to go.”

Also, attendees can use GO Airport Express! for round-trip shuttle services to and from the airport and receive a 10 percent discount. Visit http://www.carwash.org/thecarwashshow/travel to find out more.

Navigating the tradeshow floor

The tradeshow floor is in the South building of McCormick Place is at least 117,000 square feet. How big is that? Well, a football field is about half its size as it measure in at 57,600 square feetwith the end zones included.  Therefore, considering the size, you should probably consult the map on page XX and figure out your best route. 

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There will be over 300 exhibitors and the booths (see page XX for a list of exhibitors).  The booths are not grouped by category, but by preplanning, you might be able to better maximize your time.

Network, network, network

The Car Wash Show is the largest tradeshow of its kind and an ideal time to network, procure ideas, and even get to know your competition.  There is an art to networking advantageously, and the key is to consider every person you meet as a possible associate.

With over 6,000 attendees expected and over 300 exhibitors, there will be plenty of people to meet. There will also be lots of networking opportunities, from the tradeshow floor, to the educational seminars, to the 100 Years of Carwashing Celebration at the House of Blues on March 31, and there will also be networking dinners held on April 1 (see http://www.carwashdinearound.com for more information).

But, how does networking work? It starts with introducing yourself and then asking the person you meet for their name, their area of business and location.

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According to “The Art of Networking: Beyond the Handshake,” by David O. Woods, the most valuable lesson you can learn is that the root word of networking is “work.” “Networking is about pushing yourself outside of the bubble. It’s about intentionally building new relationships,” writes Woods. “No matter where you are in your career —just starting out or CEO of your company — the art of networking must be on the forefront of your ‘continuous education’ agenda.”

Don’t forget to bring:

  • Car Wash Show™ badge
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Business cards
  • List of questions
  • List of exhibitors to visit
  • A notebook

Questions to ask exhibitors

  1. How does your product work?
  2. How will it benefit my business?
  3. What kind of technical support is available?
  4. How long will it take to install?
  5. What is the estimated return on investment?
  6. Do you have any customers I can talk to who have used your product successfully?
  7. When will this product be available?
  8. What do you offer over your competitors?
  9. Who should I talk to after the show about this product?
  10. Can I have your business card?

What to do after the show

  • Sort through your acquired business cards and notes.
  • Contemplate what top products interested you and why.
  • Call the exhibitor. Go over what you were told and by whom.