This article originally appeared on the Mouthing Off blog Oct. 21, 2015. This year’s National Leadership Conference starts today! If you’re onsite, use these tips when visiting the Dental Expo.
Attending the Dental Expo at a national ASDA event is an exciting time for anyone: free samples, free bags and enough free pens to last you until you graduate dental school. Aside from the swag, there are also opportunities for your chapter and to make professional connections.
Have a leadership retreat coming up? Want more lunch and learns at your school? Need door prizes for an upcoming event? Want to team up with a company for a community service project? ASDA’s Dental Expo is a great time to establish connections for vendor relationships for your chapter.
Divide and conquer!
Make sure to visit each and every vendor by splitting up the work between your classmates. Visiting every vendor by yourself can be a daunting task, so decide beforehand who from your chapter will go where. Before NLC, create a save-the-date flier for your chapter’s vendor fair as well as a business card with your vendor relations reps (lunch-and-learn and vendor fair chairs) so that interested companies can get in contact with your chapter.
Don’t be afraid to ask.
Vendors are always open to working with students and love the opportunity to educate ASDA members at their schools. Some product vendors will even give you more samples to take back to your school for upcoming events if you ask.
After the Dental Expo, follow up via email to all of the vendors you made contact with. If you didn’t get a specific business card for a specific vendor, find their information in the NLC mobile app.
Expand your chapter’s network
Share and communicate this info with your other chapter leaders who would possibly be involved vendors. Consider creating a vendor database that your chapter can reference throughout the year and in the future.
Vendor fairs are always a great source of post-grad opportunities. Use this time to speak with specialty associations you may be interested in, corporate dental offices in areas you may want to work in, or dental sales representatives who may have connections on private or group practices that are seeking associates.
Exchange business cards with people you make connections with and send a follow-up email. You never know who and how you may get an additional opportunity through these networking opportunities. Check out how to DIY your own business cards here.
Consider the Dental Expo an education and learning fair with numerous teachers. There are many companies that have great supplementary dental school education materials and there are also companies that have products your patients may be using or may ask you about. Reps can talk about their latest products and you can, in turn, knowledgeably discuss those with your patients.
~Yeri Guak, Midwestern-Arizona ’16, Chair, Council on Membership
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