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Trade Shows & Events

HFB offers slew of educational opportunities

One of the perks of attending the Health & Fitness Business Expo, now held in conjunction with Interbike, is the variety of educational seminars available to attendees. This year, those seminars tackle a slew of topics. SNEWS brings you the latest.

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The Health & Fitness Business Expo, a trade show for the retail fitness industry, will take place at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev., from Sept. 19-21. Haven’t registered yet? Visit the HFB website to do so. SNEWS chats with Justin Gottlieb, director of communications and public relations for the show, to see what’s new this year.

What is a trade-show experience without learning a little something? Those who plan to attend the Health & Fitness Business Expo, which takes place this year from Sept. 18 to 22, have a variety of educational opportunities to choose from.

Some of those seminars address successful marketing factors, how to continue to be profitable in a challenging economy and how to create a successful customer service experience. Plus, there’s the annual forum, which this year will be hosted by Therese Iknoian, former SNEWS editor-in-chief and current fitness industry consultant and ambassador for the show.

“We’ve had our forum every year,” Iknoian explained to SNEWS. “We have a different topic, organize a panel of people for some peer-to-peer education. It’s ended up being a roundtable discussion about everything from to marketing to women [in the industry] to tapping into the Internet to working with local community.”

This year’s forum topic will address how retailers have successfully used grassroots marketing at their stores. The idea is for people in the industry to share ideas and tap into one another’s knowledge, Iknoian said.

And there are other things to look forward to, including a seminar on Sept. 18 that will address strategies to win in a challenging economy, presented by Tom Shay of Profit Plus Solutions. Terrell Roberts, an employee at the Charlotte, N.C.-based Coastal Fitness, recently told SNEWS the economy was one of the biggest challenges facing the fitness industry so this seminar is especially relevant. 

Here is a list of the seminars coming up at the show, and if you haven’t registered yet, be sure to do so at the HFB website. Registration also gets you into the Interbike trade show, held upstairs from the registration center and HFB.

Tuesday, Sept. 18

  • Strategies to Win in a Challenging Economy, Noon-1:30 p.m., Tom Shay is a fourth-generation small business owner who is living proof that “a person who has had a cat by the tail knows a lot more than the person who has read about it.” Shay has written more than 400 articles on small business management, which have appeared in over 70 trade publications. As a speaker he is a CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), a designation earned by less than 7 percent of speakers worldwide. He also works with small business owners, manufacturers and wholesalers on an individual basis. Visit his website at
  • Merchandising: So Whose Department Is it Anyway? 2-3 p.m., Mercedes Ross will push your buttons and ask those questions you should be asking yourself — but often do not. While working with bicycle retailers she often hears, “that’s not my department,” or, “I’m not good at that,” when discussing store merchandising. Regardless of those sentiments, improvement still needs to happen in an area that is vital to your business. How to do it? You will leave this seminar with tools to not only answer that question, but to help you implement a specific merchandising plan to increase sales store-wide. It is, after all, your department. So bring pictures of your store, on your phone is fine, and get ready to be inspired. Visit Ross’ website at
  • C.V.S. Marketing: Cause. Viral. Social., 4-5:30 p.m., Traditional forms of advertising, television, radio and newspaper, not only are expensive and often ineffective, but the audience they reach is diminishing. Cause, viral and social marketing can do a better job of getting the message to customers. Learn from Tom Shay how to reach today’s customers effectively and inexpensively. Image advertising, as well as item and price advertising, are becoming relics of the past. To get the attention of today’s consumer, you have to meet them where they are. The good news is that CVS Marketing can cost less and get you better staying power in customers’ minds, but only if you know how to properly do it. See how Cause, Viral, and Social Marketing get those customers in your door and spending money.

Wednesday, Sept. 19

  • Creating an Exceptional Customer Experience: How to Win Without Discounting, 9-10 a.m., Frustrated by competition from big box stores and online discounters who offer prices that you can’t possibly match? Don’t get caught trying to play that game. Focus on the advantages you have as a locally owned retailer who knows your customers and gets to interact with them in person. Zingerman’s has found that the “secret” to success is a never-ending focus on the customer’s experience. When customers feel welcome and appreciated even when they are not spending a lot of money, they come back when they’re ready to buy. Presented by Paul Saginaw. Visit the company’s website
  • The 4 Essential Marketing Principles That Guarantee You’ll Never Worry About Lousy Sales Again, 10:30 a.m.-Noon, Jim Ackerman is president and CEO of Ascend Marketing, Inc. founder of the Marketing Wizard’s Alliance, author/publisher of the Marketing Wizard’s Alliance Newsletter, national columnist and author of many articles in a broad array of industry publications. He was one of the highest-rated presenters at the 2011 NBDA seminars at Interbike and is focusing on all-new topics this year. For more information, visit the his website
  • The Psychology of Price and Why it Matters, 12:30-2 p.m.,Price can have psychological and even physiological effects on human beings. It can infuriate, surprise, sadden or delight us. It can even block the thinking part of our brains leading us to make poor business decisions. There are millions in unused daily deals according to some estimates (deals that were bought but never used) which is sufficient proof that for some consumers, getting a deal is more important than getting a product. Presented by James Dion (Jim), is founder and president of Chicago-based Dionco Inc. Find out more information on Dion here
  • The 11 Critical Marketing Success Factors of Highly Profitable Businesses, 2:30-4 p.m., The most successful companies are taking advantage of most or all of the marketing essentials that will be covered in this session. Unfortunately, the vast majority of businesses, large and small, are not even aware of them. But it’s not enough to know what these critical marketing success factors are, you’ve also got to know how to use them. And that’s the focus of this session from Jim Ackerman of Ascend Marketing.
  • The Consumer of Today and Tomorrow, 4:30-6 p.m., Selling is about understanding how and why human beings, your customers, behave the way they do. Customers’ shopping behaviors have changed and are set to change in the future in very dramatic ways. When and how they shop, the way they assess your store, how they view your prices, how they look at your product and the choices you are offering them, the way they respond to your marketing and service options. The Consumer of Today and Tomorrow is a powerful session that draws upon some key psychological truths about human beings and change dynamics to teach you how to better connect and be more relevant to your customer. 

Thursday, September 20

  • The Moment of Truth: Converting Lookers into Buyers, 8:30-10 a.m., In challenging times, you can’t afford to let a single sale slip through your fingers. You spend a lot of money to draw prospects to your door. So then what? If your store and salespeople don’t make them feel welcome and don’t give them good reasons to buy from you now, all of that money and effort will have been wasted. This program is about converting shoppers to buyers, and buyers into evangelists (they blog, tweet, text and tell their followers wonderful things about you). We’ll look at your store through your prospects’ eyes and plan every step they’re likely to take once inside. We’ll look at where, when and how your salespeople should engage them, and how to take them from lookers to buyers. Presented by Larry Mersereau, PromoPower LLC. For more information go to his website
  • More Is Better: Unleashing the Awesome Power of UPT, 2:30-4 p.m., Most point-of-sale computer systems will calculate your Units Per Transaction (UPT) performance with the push of a button. However, too few retailers know what it is, what it should be, or what behaviors contribute to it. This seminar will help attendees understand this key performance metric and explore tactics for improvement. Even a small boost in UPT can have a big impact on your business. Your store’s UPT performance directly relates to your top line sales volume and profitability. Your store’s UPT performance is also a measure of your product selection and customer service effectiveness. Presented by Dan Mann, the Mann Group

Stay tuned to SNEWS for coverage of HFB leading up to, at and after the show. Are you a new exhibitor? Have some events going on at the show? Have a new awesome product? Email us with the details.

–Compiled by Ana Trujillo