In my 20-plus years in global logistics, I’ve come to learn that success in business is all about human connection. In fact, the Prime Group of Companies has pinned its entire approach to business on this core principal.
Consistent, timely, and direct interpersonal communication – it’s how we understand customer needs, and expertly match our services to satisfy those needs.
Every day, across our entire system, we use a broad spectrum of communications options to network and make connections that will attract new business, ensure the best in customer satisfaction, and maintain long-lasting relationships with clients.
But in recent months, one of the most impactful of those efforts has ceased to exist.
The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed sudden changes on our industry, to say the least. Most notably, in the form of an immediate interruption of the global trade-show circuit, a necessary step to ensure public safety and to help stop the spread of the virus.
But the fallout has been the loss of dozens of crucial once-yearly meetings we would be now be conducting with so many of our key customers, prospects, and peers – all under one roof.
Events like the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit and Bogota’s Proflora that attract top players in the fresh-food and floral industries. And huge exhibitions like Air Cargo Europe with 65,000 logistics professionals in Munich last year, where we made great strides in moving into untapped markets across Europe and beyond.
With attendance numbers like that, it’s no wonder mass gatherings are totally off the table for the remainder of 2020. Can’t argue with that!
The Show Must Go On
While no one can see into the future with certainty, when these major business conventions and exhibitions make a come back – and they most certainly will – they’ll need to be changed, forever.
Face it, we are social animals, and no advancements in video or telecommunications technology can ever match the effectiveness of direct human connection, and the business it generates.
Of course, there will have to be an entire revamping of the trade-show industry’s delivery of mass meetings. It is imperative that they make these gatherings safe and responsible from a public-health standpoint, so when the time is right, we will be able to immediately and confidently step back into the most impactful means of human connection.
Beyond the introduction of lots of sanitizer dispensers on convention floors, major changes at trade-show venues will need to include wellness checkpoints, increased ventilation filtering capacity, greatly expanded presentation spaces and controlled traffic-flow lanes to ensure social distancing – and perhaps even extending the length of shows by an extra day or two, and/or limiting daily attendance.
Such measures will no doubt be pricey. Significantly higher participation fees will need to be imposed to offset the high cost of supplying enhanced safety and security measures. And at first, there will likely be fewer participants than we’re used to. But this will be the new normal price of doing business in the post-coronavirus period.
Communication is what brings people together in our business and paves the way for future success. That will never change – just the means by which we achieve it.
I look forward to connecting with you soon. Until then, please stay well.