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Guest Post

How to make the most out of industry trade shows

Industry insights on how to reach dealers and industry partners at trade shows.

Anthony (Tony) Macri, founder of TM Custom Auto

Anthony (Tony) Macri, founder of TM Custom Auto, with his vintage corvette

Trade shows are a great way to mix with others in the industry and to increase visibility, whether you’re looking for a sale, to make important introductions or for the perfect service provider.

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One of Toronto’s leading aftermarket specialists Tony Macri, owner and founder of TM Custom, shares his tips on making the most of industry trade shows.

Choosing the right event

Before committing to a show, research exhibitors, both past and present, and assess whether their products or services are a right fit for your business. If you’re an exhibitor, do the same to assess whether the attendees will be receptive to your product or services.

Try to set up appointments with exhibitors or other attendees before the show to arrange face-to-face meetings. Shows are great for building new relationships, so don’t leave all your meetings to chance. You want a mix of some pre-established meetings, with room leftover for in-the-moment drop ins.


Exhibit and visit

Before you decide whether to exhibit or attend, think about your ultimate goals for the show. As a prospective exhibitor, if you are introducing a new service or client-lead sourcing, exhibiting will help increase your brand visibility.

For those who decide not to exhibit, visiting other exhibits and retail booths is a hands-on way to research the competition and get a feel for industry advances you may have missed in recent months.

As a potential attendee, if you are attending to find the latest innovations and to learn how to grow your business, then make sure you have done your research to see what seminars and booths you want to visit, and that you have enough representatives to walk the floor.


Either way, if you’re primarily at the trade show to establish new relationships, have somebody there to man the floor and represent you at industry get-togethers to add value in a different way.

Be knowledgeable

People often go to trade shows with the intent to source a new product or third-party service, so if you’re an exhibitor, be sure to know this service inside out; and if you’re attending the show, it’s imperative to do some research ahead of time, study the schedule of events and have a map handy of the trade show floor.


Network effectively

You never know who you’re going to work with, so be open to anyone and everyone. Stock up on business cards before the show, and be sure to pick up other people’s business cards throughout the event.

Trade shows are also a way to reconnect with people you have met before and to build on already established relationships, while also making new ones.

Anthony (Tony) Macri is the founder of TM Custom Auto, which specializes in restoring, customizing and modernizing the interiors new, antique, vintage and muscle cars. The company was established in 1958 and has been serving the GTA for over 50 years. The company works on a variety of areas including, leather interiors, power sun roofs, specialty auto trim, convertible tops and more, and always uses factory-warrantied, original equipment unless custom-made equipment or material is required. The company is an authorized dealer for Webasto sunroofs and Katzkin® leather interiors. Visit to learn more, or check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

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