In August, I was invited to my first virtual ‘booth appointment’ from a company wanting to review products that would have been featured at IWF 2020. Having been accustomed to attending vendors’ booths in-person for almost 15 years, I wondered how the online experience could possibly compare. I can say with conviction this meeting was an all-around success. Granted, as part of the trade media, I play a different role than a prospective buyer, but presentations given to me are similar. This was well-prepared and informative.
The company was Häfele, a hardware, storage, component and accessory manufacturer that offers a full gamut of solutions to compliment kitchens and other areas of the home.
We scheduled our Aug. 24 meeting at 9 a.m. I made every attempt to prepare my appearance as if I were seeing the company reps in person. I dressed like I was going to a trade show, which is a lot more professional than my typical day working at the home office. Sporting an elegant blouse, fitted slacks, and shoes to match, topped off with some jewelry, I felt polished and ready to play the part.
I got the call exactly at 9 through FaceTime and was greeted by Scott Kaminski and Becky Carico. Scott did the presenting while Becky filmed. Scott walked me through the products as I jotted down three pages of notes, just as if it were in-person. I circled a few things to ask about at the end so not to interrupt him. His presentation included kitchen and closet organization products, sliding door hardware, the company’s Loox5 LED lighting system, functional and decorative hardware, office furniture components, and more. The presentation lasted a good 20 minutes, followed by questions and answers. We thanked each other for our time and said goodbye. (A self-guided booth tour is available on Häfele’s social media channels and website, hafele.com.)
Based on the experience and what I got of it, I’m looking forward to more virtual product presentations and especially IWF Connect on Oct. 26-30. The only downside, as I see it, is not spending real time with people in-person. At live shows, company reps and I would have a few extra minutes to converse about how our days were going and what neat things we saw on the show floor. I would be looking forward to having dinner with my peers that evening where we’d share the same conversation. But for the time being, and maybe longer, there’s no other option than to give virtual appointments a try.
I think this meeting format will be well worth your while.
This article was originally published in the October 2020 issue.