My wife and I attended York and had a delightful time. We saw minimal or no decline in the number of attendees. Yes, there were some empty tables, even in the Orange Hall.
My background is marketing and to be honest, those selling at York could sure use some assistance in this area. Some sellers had lots of their people standing around talking to each other not even looking at their customers. If you are going to bring people, someone needs to understand that the purpose is SALES, MEETING PEOPLE, and TALKING THINGS UP. I asked the owner of one well known business if I could have five minutes of his time. You would have thought that I was asking to date his daughter.
I embarrassed him into talking to me. Come to find out, I was a customer who wanted to spend $10,000+ with him, had been recommended by a supplier, and yes, I needed to discuss it.
Some displays were exciting, looked new, had interesting product... and these dealers appeared to be doing quite well. Others had no spark, little interest, and were obviously simply there. They are undoubtedly complaining and wondering why they spent so much time and money for so little in the way of results.
In the customer sales arena today, those who excel do so because they are energetic, engaged, understand customer service, know their product, and enjoy meeting their customers... and making new ones. They offer something extra and go beyond what is expected routinely. They stand above their competition. If a business cannot do these things, that business is destined to fail.
I read the excuses and I saw what many dealers in all halls were doing. Many if not most were working hard to avoid their customers.
One example of on the ball is Liz Nelson, Mrs Muffin as some call her. She was in the Korber booth and was obviously rather new at it as might be expected since she and Steve had just announced the purchase October 16. But she was helpful, interested, and took the time to answer questions and assist us with a need that we had. She and Steve understand sales. They will get a lot more of our business and we will stop at their new store next summer when we go to Michigan.
We plan to return to York in April. It is a time of fellowship, seeing people that we usually only see twice a year, and of checking out what is new. And we do not always buy when we are in York. We have a list of calls and e-mails to make about things that we saw. For a well run business, there is good money to be made at York... but you have to work for it, you have to work smart, and you have to be interested in your potential customer.