Trade shows aren't simply a place to swap business cards and build relationships anymore," says Sam Ganglani, treasurer of Mannix World, a clothing manufacturer and wholesaler in Woburn, Mass. Ganglani, who attends four shows a year, has found that more and more orders are being written there. In his opinion, buyers are being told to refrain from ordering two to three weeks before a show, and companies are allocating money for buying at the show.
"Most people tell me they need to justify attending trade shows to their corporation's accounting department," says Ganglani. Obviously, he thinks trade-show attendance is a good investment. To make sure Mannix World's salespeople don't oversell an item, he tallies everyone's orders at day's end, then gives his reps the figures the next morning. Now, instead of pencil and paper, Ganglani takes his inventory program on the road via laptop computer. "The important thing is to keep track," says Ganglani.