It’s the Start of the 2023 Trade Show Season:

Last year, we exhibited at two of the nation’s largest tradeshows (AHR in Las Vegas and IRE in New Orleans) in the face of significant uncertainty. The pandemic forced many shows to cancel or go virtual in 2021. Then the shows in the first quarter of 2022 were more conservative, had smaller attendance levels, and were laden with additional rules and restrictions, often not finalized until days before show openings. 


So how has the start of 2023 begun? Attendance numbers have rebounded to traditional levels, and face-to-face networking is back! Here are a few takeaways Watercress Financials’ sales staff has seen at tradeshows in the first quarter. 

Addressing Industry and Market Uncertainty

Contractors are asking more questions. They are more aware than ever that interest rates are increasing along with fees and sometimes even hidden costs. They want to offer the right programs to their customers and are very focused on their own profitability. 

Contractors are more engaged than ever; they seek straightforward answers, an easy and efficient financing platform with competitive programs, and direct payment to contractors. 

One common inquiry we hear at shows is, “Does Watercress charge us a membership or yearly fee to use your financing?” says Steven Millis, Regional VP.

“Watercress doesn’t believe contractors should have to pay to access comprehensive and low-cost consumer loans for their customers, so we never charge a platform access fee. Our goal is to improve our contractors’ profitability by providing low or no-cost funding options for their customers, which means more closed deals!”

In-Person Network: It’s Back, and It’s Essential

Trade shows offer a unique opportunity to mix and mingle with other industry partners, vendors, media, and key contacts. Increased booth traffic, industry interviews, podcasts, and learning sessions were perfect opportunities for sales and support teams to make meaningful in-person connections. 

“I have been pleased with the contractor and exhibitor turnout from this year’s tradeshows and conventions,” says Scott Stiglich, SVP of Channel Partners. “The in-depth conversations with contractors energize us as they focus more fully on the financing options they can provide their customers. Given the current economic environment, everyone must ensure they get the most from each customer. We help explain critical questions the contractors should be zeroing in on with their current financing partners and explain how Watercress’ solution can deliver better results for everyone involved.” AHR saw an increase of 39.5% in show attendees, and IRE estimates they saw almost a 60% increase from the previous year. Although pre-registered attendee numbers were up as expected, many on-site registrations were considerably higher than projected.

Moving Forward

Tradeshows are back! Virtual events and learning sessions are excellent for specific segments and circumstances – but nothing can replace making a personal connection with something as simple as a smile, a ‘hello,’ and a conversation starter.

The Watercress Team is prepped and ready to make even more connections throughout this 2023 tradeshow season!

Susan Peter – Director of Marketing