The Zen of Appraisal Management Tradeshow planning

If one day you call Joni Pilgrim, Cari Burris, or Kevin Johnson and get their voicemail chances are they’re on a plane headed to a tradeshow representing Appraisal Management Companies. The award-winning team at Nationwide Appraisal Network attends and exhibits at many mortgage industry related tradeshows throughout the year. “We feel it’s very important to attend industry tradeshows in all regions because it gives us the opportunity to meet the folks that we work with face to face and talk to industry peers about current trends, challenges and changes.  It’s a learning experience every time and we always take valuable information back with us that we incorporate into our daily business at NAN”, says Pilgrim.  A SOLID plan must be in place otherwise the shows will be a logistical nightmare. A few steps we follow when planning and executing are:

  1. Identify our mission– Before we do anything at NAN, we carefully calculate our goals and objectives that we’re looking to accomplish at the upcoming trade shows. Do we have a new product, new technology, a new process or do we simply want to meet our clients, prospects and colleagues? We’re very careful about having SMART goals and intentions for every show we attend throughout the year.
  2. Selecting our tradeshows carefully– A considerable amount of time is necessary to evaluate the shows in discussion. We study who will be attending and exhibiting at the shows, what the schedule looks like, potential for speaking engagements, sponsorships, and any other important opportunities or details that might be valuable to us and our clients. This process can take months if not over a year in advance to map out.
  3. Budget planning and forecasting – There are many things to consider when budgeting for a tradeshow. Airfare for team, hotel, food, transportation during event, meetings,  private party expenses, booth space, booth design and equipment, freight, registrations, furniture, marketing material, special guests, giveaways, and much more. We discuss and analyze the expenditures when considering which shows to add to the calendar. It’s important that it’s a win-win for us and our clients.
  4. Inviting space– It’s SIMPLE. People love to socialize. Creating an inviting booth is important to our success. This 10 x 10 space is our new home for about 2-3 days, so it’s important to make it look and feel comfortable. We like a simple and clear message: We’re here to meet and learn more about you and your company.  First impressions are very important to us, so we always have the right people in place.  Typically, the founders and sales reps are normally present at every show because they feel it’s important to personally represent the company and get a good understanding of the trends in the industry.  This way they can come back and implement any changes or ideas..
  5. Pre-show Strategizing – Roughly 70% of attendees have a plan in place before the show.  This plan consists of what booths they want to visit, which meetings they want to attend, and what they want to get out of the show*.  Inviting existing customers, solid prospects, and qualified attendees of the shows in advance is critical.  It’s important to let them know how to find us and what we have to offer to make their visit to the show worthwhile.

Since co-founding NAN in 2004, Joni Pilgrim and Cari Burris have always emphasized the importance of solidifying and developing relationships with clients and vendors. Attending tradeshows as an AMC gives NAN the opportunity to network and reach out and make connections. We approach planning our tradeshow year based on the same SIMPLE, SMART and SOLID methodology we implement in our daily operations.   We are looking forward to another wonderful year of tradeshows and conferences.


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