August 29, 2013
After making news in 2011 by pulling out of the “Big Six” dental trade show meeting rotation, Darby Dental will once again enter the trade show circuit later this year. Darby will make its official exhibition reentry at the 2013 Greater New York Dental Meeting.
With this big change in mind, we sat down with Liz Meyers, Darby’s vice president of marketing and purchasing, to talk about the company’s reentry into the world of dental trade shows.
DentistryiQ: I understand Darby will return to the show floor as an exhibitor later this year. Why the change of heart?
Liz Meyers: One of the great things about a change in leadership is the opportunity to reexamine your approach to everything. Our acting-president Mike Caputo has always believed that the best way to meet our customers en masse is on the trade show floor. The current executive team couldn’t be happier to return, recognizing this is a decision based on sound logic.
DIQ: How many shows will Darby be attending? Which shows did you pick?
LM: We are going to be exhibiting at all the major trade shows and a smaller number of regional meetings. With the Greater New York Dental Meeting in our backyard, our reentry will be an easy one. We don’t expect a lot of fanfare, we just want to get back to the business of building relationships.
DIQ: What will change about your exhibition strategy from 2011 to now?
LM: We have designed a new booth that is incredibly open and inviting. The design will allow our reps to have more fluid conversations with our manufacturer partners and our customers. Previously, we attended shows to meet customers and to take orders. Our new focus is to ask, “How can we best partner together to build our respective businesses?”
DIQ: What did you hear from customers about not being at trade shows – or did you hear anything?
LM: We did not really hear a lot. As you know, even though we weren’t exhibiting, we still promoted the shows through our mailings. We also worked closely with our manufacturer partners to highlight show specials leading up to the events. Now we want to emerge from behind the scenes and get back to a model that we all believe in – building meaningful and sustainable partnerships.
DIQ: Your business model is different than your main competitors. How does this help or hinder you during trade shows?
LM: Darby’s model is based on telesales, so the shows are our only opportunity to meet our customers in person. We pride ourselves on hiring “the best of the best,” and whether selling on the phone or in the field, the requisite skill set is the same. We’ll have some of our stars in the booth. The booth isn’t large enough to bring everyone, so we will be rotating through the ranks to allow many of our talented reps to shine throughout the year.
DIQ: Now that you’re back in the trade show circuit, how do you see the current and future states of trade shows?
LM: There are many people at Darby who have always believed in the importance of shows, and we are happy to start attending again. That said, the future for dental shows is bright. It is the single best opportunity for the dental community to get together, to share information, and to have some fun while doing it.