Trade Show Tips

The recent Atlanta Pet Fair and upcoming SuperZoo trade shows both offer professional groomers a great opportunity to gain the resources necessary for driving their businesses to new heights.


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Serving as a bellwether for the grooming sector, the recently concluded Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference saw a nine percent spike in attendance and featured more than 70 education sessions specifically tailored to meet the needs of groomers. 

These professionals are an important, passionate part of the pet universe and those on the supply side—manufacturers, suppliers and distributors—may not fully realize their sphere of influence. 

Most groomers have an extensive network of clients, retailers and veterinarians who value and trust their opinion about the care of pets. They recommend everything from shampoo to forms of nutrition to customers. And while they might represent one independent operation, they could have 500 clients who value their input and will buy a product based on their guidance. They have the power to influence clients’ buying decisions and prompt brand loyalty. 

With trade shows becoming such an integral part of the ever-growing pet industry, it’s important for groomers to understand how they can gain valuable insights through education, networking and seeing the latest products. With this in mind and SuperZoo (July 25-27 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas) quickly approaching, I sat down with Judy Breton, CMG, CKO—the World Pet Association’s director of grooming and special services—to chat about how groomers can make the most of their time at trade shows. 

She has a unique perspective; her parents owned a commercial boarding facility, she worked as a groomer for many years, and she worked in sales and as a supplier to everyone from boutique pet salons to big-box pet retail stores. Here are some of her top tips:


Promote Yourself
Trade shows are fantastic spaces to source new products and gain an education on new trends and information, but they’re also a huge opportunity to promote your business and your brand. International trade shows like SuperZoo put you in touch with people from across the pet world—literally—and they’re an incredible place to put your brand out there and form relationships that can push your business to the next level. 


Take Advantage of Networking Opportunities
Professionalism is something we always address during seminars at SuperZoo, and Breton encourages groomers to put their best professional face forward. Take advantage of networking opportunities and get to know other groomers from different parts of the country. When she was grooming, one of the most valuable things Breton did was make friends with other groomers that she could contact for an idea or to work out an issue.


Use Your Influence
Don’t be intimidated to talk to exhibitors. Once they understand your sphere of influence, they’ll pay attention to the important role you play with clients and their pets.


Make Education a Priority
If you want to get your start or continue to build your business, you have to take advantage of any education opportunities available to you. WPA goes out of its way to ensure groomers have a multitude of options when it comes to education at SuperZoo. In addition to grooming-specific seminars, the show offers classes on boosting overall business management skills, customer service and better utilizing social media, among many others.


Doug Poindexter is president of the World Pet Association.

 

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