Las Vegas offers more than late nights and bright lights. The city that was exclusively built on the nocturnal lifestyle and had the nickname “Sin City” bestowed upon it has adopted characteristics more befitting of a “family-oriented” atmosphere, while still holding onto the original foundation of what originally drew people to Las Vegas.

In similar respects, ISSA/INTERCLEAN® North America will adopt this archetype for their 2008 Las Vegas-based trade show, “Business Not as Usual.” The show runs from Monday, Sept. 8 through Thursday, Sept. 11 and incorporates some new features and exhibits with old practices that are show staples.

Striking with the show’s theme this year, Dr. Bill Cosby will deliver the keynote address at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 10. Cosby’s speech, “It’s Your Job to Feel Good,” will touch on the fundamentals of working life by appreciating what people do professionally and learning to enjoy your profession on a greater level, says Stephanie Daly, ISSA marketing manager, Lincolnwood, Ill. Dr. Cosby will help the audience consider what the world would be like without having a job and why more people should focus on the personal side of business, specific to the cleaning industry.

In a particular alteration to the show this year, the Product Innovation Competition has a different set up. Opposed to previous shows where each product was presented to the audience, the products, along with a video and information on each will be available in the Innovation Area.

Some features new to the show include the Green Connection Pavilion, aimed to help distributors focus on the green cleaning trend. The pavilion was created due to the global emphasis on green cleaning in an effort to offer a unique take on the green initiative, says Daly. It will offer green consultation, training, accreditation and certification. The pavilion is set up for distributors to speak with government agencies that service green initiatives.

Another new feature to the show is “Powering Goals from the Bottom Up: Action Plans for Distribution Managers.” The Peer Exchange Session will be held at 4:15 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 8. The session is designed for distributors to engage in conversation regarding a number of facets of the industry, says Daly.

A Peer Exchange Reception follows the session and will give everyone in attendance a chance to network with members of the panel and others in attendance, says Daly.

To further the theme of “Business Not as Usual,” the International Executive Housekeepers Association is sponsoring the first-ever Housekeeping Olympics. The event will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 10, as participants will compete in vacuum races, bed-making competitions and floor pad tossing.

Incorporating some of these new activities into the show this year, ISSA/INTERCLEAN 2008 is geared towards giving the show a different look from previous years.

“We are trying to change things up a little this year and have some fun on the show floor,” says Daly. “By bringing in a variety of events, we are trying to bring the city of Las Vegas to the trade show. We are trying to keep people enlightened and entertained in the same place.”

Tying the new events in with the old, the show will offer a number of education sessions tailored to distributors.

John Moore will speak on adding unique value to one’s company in, “The Bigness of Smallness.” Moore runs Brand Autopsy Marketing Practice, Austin, Texas, a consulting firm specializing in business and marketing strategies. The presentation is geared to help small businesses take action to make their business look bigger while helping big businesses appear smaller.

Another education session of pertinence to distributors is “Competing for Sales Talent: Finding Knockouts, Not Knockoffs.” Bryan Arzani , vice president of the Results Group, Johnston, Iowa, will help sales managers and owners of companies use accurate and user-friendly tactics to interview candidates and find the right salespeople for their company.

For companies looking for creative ways to introduce new products, Michael Marks, research fellow for the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW) will present, “A Best Practice Approach to Innovation and New Product Introduction.” Marks will apply the teachings of Peter Drucker and Clayton Christiansen to improve the way companies release new products.

Inviting Customers

Distributors can benefit by inviting their customers to the show. In a setting constructed to help distributors grow their relationship with customers, there are different exhibits and events for customers to take in.

Customers are welcomed to educational sessions at the show and the interaction with distributors gives them another opportunity to network on a greater level, says Daly.

Barbara Casse-Bender, president of BCB Janitorial Supply, Hackensack, N.J., has been inviting her customers to the show since it was opened up to other members of the industry in 1999. The advantage she sees from inviting customers is to exhibit her commitment to the industry.

“People like to be connected to the industry and feel like they are a part of something,” says Casse-Bender. “By bringing them to the show, they know I am aware and a part of what is going on.”

Though inviting the customer to the show lends camaraderie between customer and distributor, the distributor should pick their spots when speaking with customers.

“It’s like being a good waiter,” says Casse-Bender. “If they (customers) need something, I’m there. They have my cell phone number and know what hotel I’m staying in. I am available if they want to meet up, but they might want to take their wife or family to see a show at night. I try to keep the customer activities reserved for during the show and immediately before or after the show.”