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What is the biggest benefit you get from attending trade shows and reseller, user, or industry conferences? The biggest benefit of attending trade shows is knowledge. Seeing up close and personal the new software, gadgets, and/or tools allows us to visualize the fit for our clients and even ourselves. Talking to the vendors' reps allows us to get a broader perspective, something we can't get from the "glossies" everyone hands out. At reseller and industry conferences, we get to network with our peers from other geographic areas and make working partnerships, something that has truly paid off over the years. Industry conferences are also a great place to see the competition in action. Just watching how the competition approaches prospects is always educational, even if it is what not to do.

Arthur E. Nathan, CPA (N.Y.), CITP

Solution Strategists

Partner Insights

Cranford, N.J.

Without question for me, it is inspiration. I clearly remember attending the 1998 AICPA Technology Conference in Las Vegas, hoping to decide whether to initiate a VAR component to our CPA firm. Jim Collins was the keynote speaker the first morning, and I sat mesmerized in the first row. Several other sessions during that conference also challenged me to view our practice in new ways. Eight years later, we are still trying to assimilate the concepts that were shared at that conference into our firm's culture.

Steven Templeton

Templeton & Co.

West Palm Beach, Fla.

One of the biggest benefits we get from attending reseller conferences is the chance to network with other resellers of the same product line from different geographies, as well as resellers of complementary products. These events also provide us the opportunity to meet with key industry leaders to exchange ideas and information concerning our partner channel and the products we support, as well as to keep up to date with current industry trends.

Pat Wade, Partner

Equation Technologies

Toronto

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In my opinion, the biggest benefit is the trade show floor at the [Microsoft conference]. Looking at current third-party products and trends was infinitely more educational than were the breakout sessions at the Worldwide Partner Conference. This year, I am going to instead go to one of the smaller tech conferences back in Fargo. I know everyone thought it was great to get out of Fargo, but I don't have anything in common with firms that are selling Exchange Server to the government.

Debbie DeHart

DSD Accounting Concepts

Rhoadesville, Va.

We get to actually interact face to face with the client. It can be very important to see their body language when discussing certain pain points in their business, or to read whether or not they are following what you are saying. Trade shows allow the sales pitch to actually be the interaction. This also allows the smaller vendors to compete with the big boys because you may not have the budget to have the best booth there is, but if you know your stuff and shine in the face-to-face time with the customer, you can beat the bigger companies.

Allan Walters

Saratoga Technologies

Johnson City, Tenn.

It is our collective belief that the biggest benefit from trade shows and business conferences gets back to the basic building block of building trust, building brand; that it is the personal interaction with partners and clients which these media provide as a natural avenue to maintain and enhance business networks and business contacts.

This business is all about people, people are all about relationships, relationships are all about trust, and trust is the foundation of a service business. Trust can only be built by repetition of quality, repetition of caring, and repetition of consistency. Additionally as the world changes, these shows and conferences are also helpful in identifying new relationships that can positively add value and evolve one's business, basically, staying current and engaged.

Terry Petrzelka

Tectura

Redwood City, Calif.

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