Belying the down economy all around, the 2009 Integrated Supply Network Tool Dealer Expo exceeded expectations for attendance and tool orders. Held in late June at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., ISN staffers accounted for the show as busy, positive and successful for tool manufacturers and mobile distributors.
“It was amazing — last year was a good show, but this year was phenomenal,” said Scott Pilkenton, ISN’s VP of marketing. “It was packed; we enjoyed our largest sales volume in the history of our shows. You would have never known [the economy was down].”
In 2008, ISN welcomed more than 2,500 attendees to their expo; in 2009 the numbers topped 3,000, with more than 850 accounts heard from. Pilkenton said the staff ran out of lanyards for ID badges and had to borrow more from the hotel and other sources.
Not only were the distributors there in record numbers, they were ordering big as well. Pilkenton said orders written at the show were 25-percent above 2008 (and led to roughly $300,000 in cash rebates to distributors on the show floor).
That led to good reviews from the vendors too. There were more than 200 this year, about 10 percent of whom were new to the expo.
“We have heard only positive comments and feedback from our vendor partners,” Pilkenton said. The show floor included vibrant and themed booths from Chicago Pneumatic, Mountain, Ingersoll Rand, GearWrench, SPX, E-Z Red, Sunex and many more. There was a special PBE Corral of body shop tools that included Iwata, DeVilbiss and Meguiars. Suppliers offered incentives to distributors that included drawings and giveaways for chances to win vehicles, cash, rebates and more.
Off the tool floor, the expo included 11 training sessions both Friday and Saturday covering a variety of topics on tools and selling. Training sessions included an A/C clinic from SPX, hybrid training from an ASE tech, software technologies and more.
The training highlight was the always popular Mobile Dealer Forum on Saturday afternoon, featuring four top ISN distributors taking questions from the packed audience and moderator John Snowden, ISN Senior VP of sales.
Topics ranged from selling in the current business environment and standing out from the competition to keying in on new products and product segments for your truck.
Aside from the tools and deals at every booth, the show floor included draws like NASCAR team owner Ray Evernham signing autographs in the Ingersoll Rand area, TV mainstay Rich Evans with Chicago Pneumatic and Microflex, and the grand prizes to be given away at the awards dinner: 2010 Chevy Camaro, 2009 Dodge Ram, 2009 Porsche Boxster, 2009 Dodge Challenger, a 2008 Four Winns H180 ski/wakeboard boat, flatscreen TVs, tools, jewelry and more. Prizes awarded at the dinner topped $200,000.
For families, ISN again provided a premium spa experience and children’s activities, and plans to add on to the family side of the event in 2010.
“Next year we’re going to be coming out even heavier with the cash incentives, free giveaways and killer deals,” Pilkenton said, “and ways for family members to come in and enjoy themselves as well.”
The 2010 ISN Tool Dealer Expo is scheduled for June 25-26, again at the Gaylord Palms.
ISN Mobile Dealer awards
Business Builder of the Year: Alan Singer
Mobile Dealer of the Year – Multi Truck: Paul Depies
Mobile Dealer of the Year – Single Truck: Rick Hodges