For those who may not be familiar with the name Interbike, it’s the largest trade show for the biking industry held in Las Vegas. There are over 20,000 attendees with several thousand people working the booths and at the trade show. For a first time exhibitor you go through so many thoughts from excitement, intimidation, and some confusion. Do I have enough flyers? Will anyone walk by our booth? Will we have enough people working the booth, and where is our booth?!
I am a visual person so in my office were several large 2’x3’ post-it notes scribbled with to-dos of items we needed to achieve each week counting down to show time. Each item completed was joyously checked off when accomplished providing small victories in our preparedness for the event. I kept these sheets as memento that gave me an opportunity to chuckle at myself in the many things I worried about and often unnecessarily. There is a fun Julia Child’s quote“…pleasures of cooking is to learn to correct something if it goes awry; and one of the lessons is to grin and bear it if it cannot be fixed” which I apply myself many times in the pedal business.
It’s safe to say of course, it’s good to have a plan and be ready when things don’t go according to plan, like the actual booth and materials arriving 2 days late and 2 hours after the start of Interbike! What you need to be prepared for is how the audience responds to your product or service. This was our first chance to present our product in an open environment. We had a good inkling based upon our local riders’ feedback, however, we were now in front of people we did not know and who would give us their unfiltered comments. Will they like it? What are they going to say? Will they even try riding the pedals?
We estimate 200 people did a test ride on a bike set up in our booth. Realizing the best sales material, sales pitch, or information was second fiddle to riding the pedals, we quit talking and let the customers experience for themselves the benefits of our design. Seeing the visceral reaction was truly priceless to all of us working the booth. Doubters and skeptics were transformed in front of us. Unbridled smiles formed on their faces. “Wow, I never would have guessed this to be such a natural feeling” was the common phrase of the show. “This is so cool, how did you guys ever think of this?” You can’t script this any better. Such powerful feedback is what any company aspires for to grow and build great innovative products and brand awareness in their industry.
My goal many years ago was just to see if this idea works and could we make a few to install on few bikes. Reflecting on those many years while standing in our first booth was surreal. Attending a conference, promoting an idea literally sketched out in a notebook and achieving our first sales is beyond words. We couldn’t be more pleased with our launch and look forward to seeing more and more people enjoying our products and brand.
See you at Interbike 2015 or sooner!