Performance Racing Industry Trade Show (PRI)
December 7-9, 2017
Indiana Convention Center, USA
I have been attending the PRI show since 2007 and have traveled to shows all around the world: SEMA in Las Vegas (http://www.semashow.com/), The Professional Motorsports show in Cologne Germany (http://www.professionalmotorsport-expo.com/), and even the Autosport International show in Birmingham UK (http://www.performancecarshow.com/).
Out of all these shows, PRI is among the best.
I strongly encourage every team that can, to attend PRI. It is the best place to meet potential sponsors and thank current sponsors, and also a great way to meet the big whales in the industry. The head men and women of all the companies are there at the show walking around. Its the perfect time to introduce yourself and pursue a job with companies your actually interested in. Nothing beats meeting the owner of a company in person. When you meet face to face they get to know the real you and not some words and numbers on a paper in a stack of a thousand others just like it. Every connection I have and job I have landed was originally formed at PRI. For those that know me - let's face it - If I turned in a resume to some random "info@no_onecares.com" the person or computer on the other side would assume I was a 3 year old monkey that could sign a few words.
I am not paid by PRI or have any affiliation with PRI in any way. I just really enjoy the show and want to inform as many teams out there as I can. I know this show will be a benefit to a team as a whole and to individuals pursuing future careers in racing.
Here is a link that shows some highlights of last years show.
2013 PRI Highlights
- Registering for the show:
- In a weekly team meeting (Which every team should do), talk about the show and get a list of team member interested in attending the show.
- Register you team here as a whole and then include the members wanting to attend.
- Attending the show:
- Have all team members dress alike in team apparel (Do not dress like kids off the street). Wear nice jeans or dress pants, Button down shirt or polo.
- Make business cards for team members. This is a professional show, so first impression is key. Click here for a good link for some cheap business cards.
Make a team brochure or pamphlet that list some key features about your team. A lot of teams make a "sponsor packet" that lists what the team has done in the past and what they plan to do. It also lists other sponsors and describes how to become a sponsor. My tip on this is to make it short and sweet; something that catches their eye. If you hand them a novel they will not read it at all. Make it one page front and back, and make sure it looks clean and professional. State on there that you have more information if they are interested.
- Bring Resumes! PRI is a great "career fair" if you're looking for a job in racing.
- Dealing with Current Sponsors:
- Make a list of all current sponsors that will be attending the show so you can visit them. Click here to see the list of vendors attending the show. You can also print out a map and circle your sponsors booths.
- Bring a thank you plaque, picture, or anything to say thank you to current sponsors. The biggest complaint I hear from companies that sponsor teams is that the teams do not act like they appreciate it. Make them feel like they are the best! Become their friends! Stroke their egos and they will do anything they can for you.
- Swing by their booth every so often and see how the show is going for them.
- Bring other teams or people you know or have met by your sponsors booth and show them all the cool stuff they have. (Remember, stroke that ego)
- Help tear down their booth! It sucks after being at the show all week you have to tear down your booth before you can leave the building. Help them tear down their booth so they can get out of there and go have a drink. They might even ask you to join them.
- Dealing with Potential Sponsors:
- Make a list of all potential sponsors that will be attending the show. Click here to see the list of vendors attending the show. You can also print out a map and circle your potential sponsors booths.
- I strongly recommend dividing up the list of potential sponsors among the team-mates attending the show. You want to have the team-mate that knows the most about the company's product to go and talk to that company. You do not want 6 different team-mates trying to pitch a sponsorship deal to the same company. One, it is very annoying if you are the company and two, it makes a team look very unorganized.
- Tips on landing a sponsor:
- I have several techniques I use to land a sponsorship deal. I have taught a few people as well. It take determination and a lot of practice. I can't share all my secrets though. Part of the challenge is to find techniques that work for you and practice. If you know me personally and want some help with this, I would be more than happy to help out. Just contact me. I can also walk around with you at the show.
- When you walk up to a booth. Get off your phone. Don't look at the ground or your feet when you walk. Look confident and be on your game. Start to think about what your going to say. Be knowledgeable about the product the company has to offer. You can either start looking at a product and wait for someone to approach you or you can approach someone in the booth. It is really up to you and what you feel comfortable with.
- When you start talking to someone, try to remember their name and figure out what their position is. If you are looking for free stuff, I have learned that for the most part, sales people don't really care if you get free stuff or not. So just poke around and see if you can figure out who is in charge or who is going to be interested in what you have to say. (Remember. Tell them how much you like their stuff. Stroke their ego a little)
- From what I have seen, the person in charge is usually sitting in the back at a table on his phone while everyone else is standing and talking to people. That is the guy you want to try to talk to.
- Make sure to get business cards and write down on the back as soon as you can to remind yourself later what you discussed with that person.
- Following up after the show
- Contact each potential sponsor you talked to via email and thank them for meeting with you and showing you their stuff.
- Contact current sponsors and thank them for meeting with you.
- Send them a pdf of a more in-depth sponsor packet. Have your achievements and goals clearly listed in the packet.
- It is also a good idea to have short bios of every "real" team members in the sponsor packet. Have team members write up a bio about themselves following an outline so all bios will be in the same format. Have them list there strengths, what projects they have done or are currently working on, and also what they want to do. This will help connect team members to companies who are potentially looking to hire engineers.
Remember, these are just some tips that have worked out well for me and different people/teams may have more success with different approaches. At the end of the day, everyone's experience at PRI can be a little different, but using these general tips and tricks should help guide you in the right direction to having a successful and enjoyable PRI trade show.
We will be at PRI this year along with our partners so come by and visit us!
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or comments. Hope to see you there!