Trade-Show Tips

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Terry Moran Jr. in Manchester, N.H., is always looking for more ideas to help build wealth for his DJ business, Crown Entertainment.

And the best place to find fresh ideas and the latest products, Moran says, is at a trade show. At DJ Expo 2016 in Atlantic City he was looking for even more ways to increase his income.


“I own all my gear, so I’m especially looking for strategies for my staff, for multi-ops, for marketing perspective,” he explains. “As Larry Bird once said, ‘We’ve constantly got to take things to another level.’”

We sought out some unique ideas from mobile jocks on how to maximize attendance at trade shows. More than the usual schtick about networking, we asked for some cool and fresh ideas.

“Right now logistics are what are important to me,” explains Moran, whose company specializes in event producing, event lighting, mobile DJs, photo-booths, video displays—all things he’s become educated about at the DJ Expo. “The one app I use nowadays for client communication is GoToMeeting.com. I can have up to six video cams live on a screen—all in HD—from different locations. This works great for our out-of-town/state/country couples that we produce weddings for in the destination market of New Hampshire.

“As for the show floor, I usually have a good idea of what I’m looking for, but I browse through very carefully. I’ve found some outstanding products by asking serious questions and requesting demos. This is where we grab the secrets that your local competition won’t find out about until months later.”

While Corey Rusch of Rusch Entertainment in Freeland, Mich., says he’s only attended two DJ Expos in Atlantic City before this year (mostly due to the need to travel halfway across the country), he says it’s always good to share tips with other attendees and learn from their experiences as well.

“I feel the exhibit floor is the most beneficial aspect of a trade show, since we get to see so much gear up close—as opposed to those online demo videos that make it hard to tell what the lights are capable of unless it’s pitch dark and with heavy fog,” says Rusch. “The Expo gives a more realistic look at the lights, plus you can see their actual size and output.

“Also, how many times do you want to buy speakers, but not know how they sound? The sound rooms that QSC Audio sets up, for example, are amazingly helpful for people who don’t have stores nearby that showcase this stuff.

Rusch suggests, in order to not feel overwhelmed by the breadth of exhibit-floor products, that we should take it in pieces.

“It’s so tempting to jump right in and slam through it all,” he says, “but there’s so much to see so we should take a section at a time.

“It’s important to go in a group; otherwise, you can’t make all the seminars that you want. You can always share what you learned with others who attended different seminars. Plus, with us being from Michigan, we’re definitely the outsiders, so having some people to hang with really helps at the beginning.”

Even though he hails from Chicago, K.C. KoKoruz and his crew from The Keith Christopher Entertainment Group are regulars at the annual DJ Expo.

His first piece of advice for getting the most out of the DJ Expo? Come with an open mind.

“There are DJs coming from all over the country, and with all different levels of experience and of different company sizes,” says KoKoruz. “Everyone’s needs and wants are different, and not everyone you meet will impress you. Not everything you hear in a seminar or over coffee, lunch, breakfast, dinner, drinks or just in the hallways will necessarily impress you.

“All you need is to be open-minded enough to hear enough things that can make your trip very rewarding and profitable for your company in the future.”

KoKoruz says the most important thing for an attendee to bring along to a convention of any type is business cards. And not just a few, he says—bring a whole box of them.

“A lot of the exhibitors all have raffles, so you’ll obviously want them for that,” he explains. “Plus, the easiest way to introduce yourself to someone is to say hello and offer to exchange cards. This automatically opens easy dialogue about where you’re from, as well as anything specific about what you do.

“For example, my business card mentions LED dancefloors. This is an item that most mobile DJs don’t offer, so this would open up an entire conversation about the logistics of owning one.

“Also, make sure your phone is well-charged and that you even bring a battery-operated charging device. Most of the presenters will be doing PowerPoint slides, and it’s super easy to simply take a picture of a slide and reference it when you get home. The same goes for taking pictures and video of new products on the trade-show floor.”

When you want to get up during a seminar because you think it isn’t worth sitting through, KoKoruz says it’s important sit your butt back down in the chair.

“You never know when someone’s going to say something that you can use,” he says. “I’ve been attending conventions for over 20 years and have heard every type of sales workshop there is; however, I can still learn something from it simply being presented in a different way.”

And finally, with all the partying going on every night at the DJ Expo, KoKoruz says it’s alright to enjoy ourselves, but to keep in mind that there’s a time and place for everything.

“I’ve walked into my hotel room over the years many times at 4 a.m., feeling no pain, but I’ve always made it up in time for seminars. If you want to have fun, have fun—just have some balance.

“I’m a huge fan of ‘Work-Hard-Play-Hard,’ but my body just can’t handle playing as hard as it used to.”