The International Builders Show is always a great adventure. I love the networking, the education and the exploration of walking the exhibition floor. This year was really special for me because it was like homecoming in many ways. It was wonderful to see old friends and make new ones. Unlike past years when budgets were bigger, many of my friends could not go to Vegas and that was sad. So this post is for all who went and those who couldn’t. My Top 10 IBS Take Aways:
- A sense of humor is an excellent tool to have in any economy. I absolutely loved the “Wonderful World” duet by Jim Suth and Jeff Shore. No doubt that these two had as much fun writing it and performing as we did laughing along.
- Leaders emerge and excel throughout change and hard times. Kudos to my friend Karen Dry who led the Professional Women in Building through 2009. Much like a butterfly coming out of its cocoon, she led the council through a name change while reinventing herself professionally. The team of women that lead this council are in a word “amazing.” I look forward to the leadership of Tammie Smoot, Kimmi Houston and all of the women in this organization.
- Styx Rocks! Their crystal ball may not be any better about forecasting the housing market in 2010 than it was in predicting anything in the 70s, but boy what a dynamic group. Their music has been with us for three decades and we treasure it — music that brings back memories.
- “All of the builders who are successful today are on social media sites.” While I absolutely believe this to be true, it was nice to hear fellow MIRM Dan Levitan state this during MIRM pro ed. My take away from this is social media has become mainstream and people get it OR they want to get it!
- Technology makes trade shows more interactive and more fun. Everyone tweeting at IBS, the smart phone IBS application, the Tweet Up and the overall increased interaction made for better communication during the show.
- Red is the new Black. Melinda Brody, MIRM says the funeral is over, we aren’t wearing black anymore, we have a new attitude. In fact attitude was a recurring theme during the week with several sales trainers including Melinda and Myers Barnes emphasizing it.
- Your Web site is an active sales tool, not a passive brochure. Meredith Oliver, MIRM did a great job of demonstrating how to make your Web site sell, interact and capture leads. In fact, this was a HUGE theme at the show. Your Internet marketing needs to engage potential buyers immediately, be interconnected and encourage two-way communication. Meredith asks this question, “Does your Web site meet and greet?” She is absolutely right, your buyers meet you first online.
- When they come to your model they are a guest NOT a traffic unit. This from Kerry Mulcrone, MIRM. We need to think of people as people not numbers. This is so true! People buy homes on emotion and they buy from people they like.
- We like free stuff, especially food. The receptions, luncheons and giveaways on the show floor were a huge hit. I saw tweets about fresh salmon, cookies and ice cream (no, not at the same booth) and was even given an awesome ladybug balloon animal by Erik Cofield of BuildTopia (thanks Erik).
- Quality is more important than Quantity. This is as true of trade show attendees as it is of Twitter and Facebook fans and followers. A small group of the right followers is always more powerful than a large group of non-relevant people. Although attendance at IBS may not have been what it was at the height at the market, we are mighty.
As a bonus, here is 10+ from my friend John Palumbo, MIRM. He closed the Super Sales Rally with this statement, “2010 is the year we are going to take the home building industry back into the black.”
I keep remembering more and more people with great take aways from the show. I promised to stop at 10, so please add your top show take aways as comments. I’d love to know what you learned at IBS, who you met, what impressed you.