Intercon 1999 was a return to a CISCA Only Trade Show. There were many long hours of planning and the program for Independent Manufacturer&’s Representatives (IMR&’s) was intense.
This year we added a new program the evening before the convention kickoff, The IMR / Manufacturer Rep Job Fair. We were uncertain of the potential attendance at this event, but were pleasantly surprised to have more than 140 people attend. The event was scheduled from 6:30Pm until 9:00PM, at 9:30 there were still more than 80 people in the room.
The individual Manufacturer Sales Meetings were outstanding! Virtually all of the meetings included more than 30 IMR&’s and we actually had to add three new meeting slots at the last minute to accommodate all of the Companies wanting to hold a Sales Meeting.
What a great benefit for both the Manufacturers and the IMR&’s, several of us attended up to 6 Sales Meetings for the cost of one trip to Intercon. The cost savings is not the only major benefit, many of our colleagues mentioned what a great time saver and the ability to have more than one member of the firm attend all of the meetings!
The convention registered more than 1500 attendees with more than 120 Manufacturer Booths in the exhibit area! The traffic in the exhibit area was the largest in recent memory, the attendance for the All CISCA Intercon 1999 was the largest turnout in CISCA History! The feedback from the Manufacturers was outstanding, you have seen several printed in recent CISCA Mailings! Several of the Manufacturers have DOUBLED the number of booths for Intercon 2000 in San Diego next Year!
How does all of this effect us? The turnout gives us the opportunity to meet with all of the players in our industry. The IMR / Manufacturer Get-together had the addition benefit of providing the opportunity for IMR&’s and Principal Companies to meet and share uninterrupted time together. Many found the opportunity to speak with their principal companies, potential future principal companies and their competitors, very useful. There is really no other forum for this type of activity any other time during the year.
In discussing this session with several of our fellow members, we were very pleased to find that at least five IMR&’s created new and potentially profitable relationships.
The timing for the sales meetings seemed to work very well. The concept of keeping them short, virtually guaranteed that the content would be crisp and only important topics discussed.
The break between each session enabled all involved to “stay in touch” with their offices and arrive on time for the next meeting.
We plan to expand the entire IMR Program for Intercon 2000. Intercon 2000 is the 50th anniversary of CISCA; there will be a Large Gala to celebrate the event, sponsored by all of the manufacturers. Our first IMR Event will be “Independent Manufacturer Representative / Manufacturer Networking Extravaganza”. We estimate a crowd of more than 300 people, and will be prepared with a larger room, and more hors d&’oeuvres. There will be an open bar, and plenty of time to network!
We have also expanded the number of Individual Manufacturer Sales Meetings, with the slots already filling fast. The location, San Diego, we don&’t have to say much about that!
The question still heard from a number of IMR&’s, why belong to CISCA? There are many reasons. As your board member I can assure you that as our membership increased last year, we were given more influence over the direction of CISCA. You will note the significant changes that occurred at Intercon 1999, and the additional positive changes at Intercon 2000.
Becoming a member of CISCA shows your support of the organization. The more IMR Members, the more influence we have in shaping the organization to best meet our needs and goals! Like voting in a national election, if you don&’t participate you cannot effect the changes important to you and your company.
The new Intercon Format offers us the opportunity to attend many sales meetings, network, visit display areas and participate in the direction of our industry. Intercon saves us all significantly in time and dollars, the format allows us to visit with our principals every year. The more IMR Members, the more the format will be adjusted to meet our need and the needs of our principal companies.
There are many exciting changes occurring in our industry, many members have told us that attending Intercon was very helpful, 21 new Independent Manufacturer Representative Firm joined CISCA in the past six months.
If you are not already a CISCA Member, break out the checkbook and join your colleagues in an exciting organization!
William L. Shannon CSI, CISCA
President of Shannon Corporation
Recipient of the 2004 De Gelleke Award