The Mid-America Truck Show (MATS) is the biggest event in the trucking industry, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s best at everything. Good as the show is, it's better for some things than for others. So if your company plans to attend (which we recommend), keep these four trade-offs in mind.
The largest gathering of truck drivers in the world might seem like the ideal place to recruit, but the results are often less than ideal. Why?
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t recruit. You just need to adjust your mindset and expectations. Instead of thinking you’ll fill all your trucks, go with the goal of building your employer brand:
Like we said, you’ll also enjoy better results if you promote your booth beforehand and have a way to pre-schedule meetings with candidates.
At an event where everyone’s talking (some with megaphones), it’s tough to get your message out. Don’t let that stop you from trying, but also expect to use your ears more than your mouth. No other event can offer such a wide range of valuable industry information, so take in all you can:
You can’t guarantee people will go home talking about you, but you can certainly take home a lot worth talking about.
MATS is a lot of fun, but even more work–and definitely not a vacation. It doesn’t simply reward hustle, but requires it because the show is so large that you’ll miss opportunities or get overlooked yourself if you’re not fully involved.
So, instead of expecting the industry insights, products, and drivers to come to you, go get ‘em. Attend the seminars, visit the exhibits, get out of your booth and engage with candidates. Along with this go-getter mindset, be sure to take the right apparel, especially shoes that you’re comfortable standing and walking in all day.
Don’t expect a be-all, end-all destination or a place where you’ll close lots of deals, but rather a launch pad that gets you going in the right direction. MATS is a great place to make or refresh important contacts within the industry. And it’s also a premo opportunity to explore the full range of solutions to your needs.
If, for example, you’re evaluating products to increase the fuel efficiency of your trucks and trailers, you can see all the available options in one place, and even better, speak with reps from each. Nothing beats that one-on-one dialog and the chance to get direct answers.
But it’s really what you do after the show that counts. Be ready to continue whatever you begin there–whether it’s staying in touch with an important new contact, doing the homework on products you’ve discovered, or following up with your driver leads. Committing to follow through ensures you have a better reason to attend in the first place.