8 Top Tips for First Time Attendees at KBIS & IBS

KBIS IBS Vegas | constrution2style team

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Vegas, here we come! One of our favorite shows of the year, The Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) and International Builders Show (IBS). Vegas bound for the show for the 8th time for this show. This isn’t our first rodeo, and a show we would’t miss. 

Every year with every show, it just keeps getting better and better. From connecting with brand partners, meeting up with our industry friends, to the educational session, to seeing what’s coming to market, and where the design and build industry is going …we always leave a better person!

If you’re here, you’re likely contemplating attending this show. From our experience, it’s undoubtedly been a game-changer – a resounding yes. However, maximizing its benefits requires active participation; otherwise, it risks becoming a futile endeavor. As with many endeavors, realizing its value demands effort. Don’t put int he work = you’ll see little to no reward. 

In this post, we’re sharing eight insights we’ve learned over the years to help you optimize your experience at this event. These are strategies we’ve honed through repeated attendance, resulting in progressively enhanced experiences each time.

8 Top Tips for First Time Attendees at KBIS & IBS | construction2style

Have a Mission

This is for any show we go to, we always have a clear objective and purpose for going to the show.

Conventions are expensive! And you don’t want to go, just to go. For us, it’s not for the show and to get that one Instagram picture. It’s about bringing value to our business and brand.

By the time you get your flights, hotels, tickets booked, and then once you’re there and you spend money on events, food, and drinks we easily spend $1,500- $2,000 per person. 

So think about why you’re going to the show and what you want to get out of it. If you have a clear purpose, goal, and objective for going and remind yourself of your why I promise you will leave with what you went there for. 

For us at c2s, our purpose is to…

  • Educate ourselves on new products
  • Learn about new and best business practices
  • Connect with new brand partners
  • Connect and build deeper relationships with national industry friends

Knowing our purpose, we create measurable goals that we make sure we hit as a team. We each have to…

  • Schedule 8-10 meetings prior
  • Go to 5-10 classes/courses/live shows
  • Schedule 3-4 intentional meetings with brand partners with the intent to sign contacts after the show within the following 2-4 months 
  • Show up at 1-3 events
  • Leave with 10-15 business cards
  • One blog post recap of all that we learned

Do Your Research

Do your homework before going to the show. Otherwise, you will 100% be overwhelmed. The convention center is a huge place, and you can easily get lost or miss out on things that you otherwise should have been spending your time doing. 

Months before the show, we start looking up on the KBIS & IBS websites what brands will be there that we want to check out and what classes and shows they’re hosting that we want to attend. We also start following and paying attention to the KBIS & IBS social media channels and following their hashtags. Another easy way to see what will be going on at the show to start planning out our schedule. 

construction2style team

Be Vulnerable, Connect 

If you catch wind of someone on Instagram raving about a live podcast they’re excited to attend or a booth they’re dying to visit, jump right in and join the discussion. It’s like tapping into a treasure trove of recommendations and making connections all at once!

You know, we’ve got this little tradition of hosting a cozy luncheon meet-up with our industry pals, and it’s always a blast. But here’s the thing – so many times, folks have left a comment on one of our posts about the show, expressing their interest. And guess what? We’ve ended up inviting them to join our gang for lunch! It’s like expanding our circle without even realizing it.

So, next time you’re scrolling through your feed and see someone buzzing about KBIS & IBS, don’t hesitate to chime in. Who knows, you might just score yourself an invite to the coolest lunch party in town!

contractor coalition summit | construction2style | IBS KBIS Vegas

Create a Loose Agenda, Schedule your Time

Then start scheduling your time before you jet out! This is something we didn’t do the first couple of years we went to the show, which was not only a big missed opportunity but a waste of time. 

We request this from our team too. We ask for each of them to run through their schedule before we fly out, and you bet, their schedules better be full! 

As of right now, our schedules are full back to back in hour meetings from 8 am and events until midnight. Also, we already have our maps scheduled out, otherwise by the time if you figure out where you’re walking to, you can already have wasted an hour. However, it can be valuable just to walk the show floor too, don’t get me wrong. 

Start Connecting Before the Show

Whether it’s with brands or other friends, colleagues, competitors in the industry…start connecting with them online. Instagram is one of the easiest ways to do this! Start commenting on their posts, sending them direct messages, get your name and brand in front of them so that when you reach out to schedule time to meet, they’re not wondering who you are.

Connecting and building these relationships before you head to the show will not only help you develop deeper and more more meaningful relationships but also create additional new opportunities.

By connecting and building these relationships over the years, for us, it has led to being on live podcasts at the show, invited to private industry parties, being featured on the cover and in the KBB magazine, and have had paid brand sponsorships/appearances while out there. 

Get Meetings Set Up 

We take a peek at all of the brands we’ve been using and loved in the past year, and if we don’t already have a personal relationship with them, we start reaching out and asking for a meeting rather than just popping into their booth. The reason being is because this show is BUSY, and a lot of the people you might want to talk to might be taking a break or in another meeting when you swing in. So again, to not waste time, connect with the people you want to meet, see, and learn from before you head to the show. 

Be Tenacious! 

This was our word last year, tenacious!! And boy has it changed who we are. Going to large shows like this, even if it’s not for the first time, can not only feel overwhelming, but it can be really intimidating.

But if you’re going to spend the time and money to show up, SHOW UP. Be bold, ask for brands cards, connect with others online, show up at that event and walk in with confidence and put your hand out and introduce yourself. I mean, what is the worst that’s going to happen and I promise you, by being tenacious, it will bring your brand to the next level! 

Have fun! 

And don’t forget to let loose and have some fun!! After all, this is what a large part of the show is all about! Celebrating the wins, laughing off the losses, lessons learned, and hard work you have put in throughout the past year! And celebrating where the design + build industry is moving. 

Now, who’s Vegas bound?! If it’s you and you’re looking for something to do on Wednesday at 3:00, come hang with us at “The Spot.” We’ll be on a live podcast talking all the things with Protractor Podcast. See ya there! 

Contractor Coalition Summit



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