Tradeshow Season – After Action Review, By Dr. Casey Bradley

Over the last few months, I have been learning an entirely new language from the manufacturing arm of our industry. But systematic reviews of different problems are necessary, which is not different for the sales process, regardless of what side of the table you sit on.

Attending IPPE again this year allowed me to switch my side of the table throughout the week. For my first IPPE, I worked for Kalmbach Feeds, and it was a whirlwind, one day in and out. That was approximately ten years ago, but that was the last time I attended as a customer. Of course, this time was a little different, as I am the “Key Decision Maker” for my company.

I was shocked by the responses I received from different vendors. In case you did or did not know, The Sunswine Group is looking to expand into building research facilities, a feed mill, and a nutritional laboratory for our customers. Thus, you can imagine the shopping list I had for IPPE. Unless the salesperson knew me personally, I was not impressed with the majority of vendors we met. I will walk you through a few responses we received from the great, good, and ugly.

Shining Star:

AGI – Looking to build a feed mill

The entire process was exactly what I anticipated. The salesperson asked the right questions to understand what type of facility we wanted to build and what would be within our budget. Then we were sent over to the technical engineers to discuss their modular feed mill. They discussed the exact product we needed at a much lower price than I expected. Not only did they explain everything, but they also gave us some nice swag and scheduled a follow-up meeting. And yes, I plan to work with AGI on my feed mill for our growth plan.


Weltech – weighing platforms

Their mock chicken and scale got my attention, as it far surpasses any rope loop I have used in the past. Then the salesperson engaged us in discussions about what types of scales and products we could use. Then how we could integrate it into our Agizmo Platform. I am not sure I need this type of scale yet, but I was impressed with the technology and what they offer from a data collection perspective.


A few just jumped into the sales demonstrations and what they had. I could go into an example where a salesperson let a few fatal details slip out of their mouth. First of all, they did not vet who I was and the fact I probably had more experience designing and working with this specific analytical method in the past. I was intrigued with their devices but needed a higher level of conversation, and if I genuinely had an interest, it would take me a while to make a purchase.


The worst experience was being blatantly ignored when we walked into their booths. From what I could tell, they were too occupied talking amongst themselves and not being ready for the next customer. Why were we ignored?

As much as I hate getting sold to, catching up with all my friends and colleagues was lovely. I did not schedule enough time to shop, as most of my time was spent visiting with the people that mattered. I learned at IPPE this year that I need a better elevator pitch, have a list of key vendors to visit and prearrange a meeting with their technical staff, and never base a book on their cover. I chose not to have a booth this year, but last year I offered coffee and a friendly hello to as many people as I could, and sometimes that is all it takes to make a million-dollar sale or develop a relationship that will last your career.

What did your team’s after-action review indicate as the strengths and weaknesses of your week at IPPE? Was it a success or failure?