Lumbermen Online Blog

Bringing Buyer and Seller Together!

Are Trade Shows Dead?


The Lumbermen's Equipment Digest team has exhibited at many different industry shows in all parts of the country.  We know, we have all witnessed the decline in attendance at forest industry trade shows and heard business managers declare that, “trade shows are dead”. This reduction in attendance is in large part due to the huge amount information now available via print publications and the internet. Do the declining numbers REALLY mean trade shows should no longer be a significant part of your overall sales and PR budget? The answer is a resounding YES they should be. Here are my Top Ten thoughts on why your company SHOULD ATTEND trade shows with attendee demographics that match your market.

  1. Sell to well qualified attendees. Those who have made the investment of their time to attend a trade show have to a large degree prequalified themselves as interested in learning what is new in the industry, may be completing the pre-purchase analysis and research or may be just beginning it. Whatever the case, the fact that they have traveled to the event indicates an elevated level of interest and commitment.
  2. Interact with other exhibitors. The personal face to face contact with other exhibitors can provide your company a venue to form stronger relationships and strategic partnerships. In addition, many new dealers, sales representatives, distributors and potential new employees are identified at trade shows.
  3. Produce sales leads for sales staff. When you boil it down, selling is, or should be, the number one reason you attend trade shows. The personal contact with potential buyers should, if leads are tracked and follow up managed correctly, produce leads for your sales staff to follow up with for weeks, months or years after the event.
  4. Networking with others in your area of expertise. Networking comes in many forms and is all too often one of the least recognized and leveraged benefits of exhibiting at trade shows. If educational seminars are offered make sure to take advantage of all that apply to your specialty or equipment. Offer the show management your services as a speaker. This will set you and your product ahead of the competition by giving you the opportunity to address many potential buyers directly, capture their contact information for future follow up and assume the mantle of “expert”.
  5. Find new industry trends and opportunities. By listening to those qualified attendees, you’ll learn what equipment and services the market is seeking now and in the future. It will be much easier to attain this knowledge in a one-on-one, no sales pressure conversation at the neutral trade show location than on a sales call or via phone or email.
  6. Check out the competition. Your competitors will have their latest products on display, product information available to the public and even expose their marketing strategies. Don’t underestimate the value of this information or the fact that they are watching you too!
  7. Improve your future trade show effectiveness. Simply attending trade shows and following the worn and tired methods of the past is perhaps the single biggest drain of advertising budgets. PR and sales managers all too often continue doing the same old thing show after show, year after year and conclude that ‘trade shows don’t work’. Those companies who invest their time wisely and spend some of it walking the aisles to review display trends, eye catching graphics, the latest video displays and learn how to more efficiently draw in potential buyers from among the attendees walking the halls will be positioned to fully capitalize on future trade shows.
  8. Meet with existing customers. Trade shows allow your company the opportunity to visit with existing customers much more efficiently than you could on the road or over the phone. In addition, make sure that you invite as many of your customers in the region as possible to further maximize your trade shows effectiveness.
  9. Introduce new products and services to the market. Proven and time honored place to unveil new items is at trade shows. Proper preplanning and promotion can help you ‘steal the show’ by creating a buzz loud enough to drown out your competitor’s messaging and move your new product to the forefront of all the potential buyers in attendance.
  10. Expose your staff to the market. The sad fact is many employees don’t have a clear idea of the industry your company may serve or your place in it. If they come from a non-forest industry background attending a trade show could be just the thing to open up those staff members whose job doesn’t allow them to see firsthand the real impact your product or service plays in the industry. It won’t take very many customers walking past and saying, “love your product” to build their confidence in your company and products. In addition, it shows them your commitment to them and they may also come away with new ideas and improved outlook that will serve your company for many years to come.

So are trade shows dead? No, but you should let your competitors believe they are.

How to Sell Your Equipment

Looking to upgrade your equipment, but need to sell your skidder, sawmill, or pallet nailer first?  Or maybe you acquired a few items for a specific job that need to be liquidated, but you aren’t sure what to do? Truth is, there are many different ways, from listing it on to sitting it out by the road. Each way can fit different types of people and have their own place in the market, but carry pros and cons as well. Assuming you're not one of those lucky guys that are always approached by a deep pocketed offer to help you part ways, here are the main four options in no particular order:


Pros - Assuming the process goes well it's a "quick sale." You have a defined date of item being liquidated, therefore, removes uncertainty. Auction companies have an interest in your items selling for high value and foot the bill for most of the promotion around the sale.

Cons - Uncontrolled variables including attendance on auction date due to outside factors, previous items sold, and inability to display equipment’s ability (if applicable). Additionally, other risks are items not exceeding reserve and having to pay a stocking fee, auctioneer’s fees can become very lofty with expensive equipment, transportation of equipment to and from auction, just to name a few.

Who does this option work for? Sellers who have numerous items to liquidate, end of business liquidation, or those who want an exact date of sale to plan accordingly.


Pros - There is little time invested by the equipment owner. Generally speaking, there are no fees if your equipment doesn't sell. Utilizing a wide range of contacts from the brokering company. Good brokers are experts at selling equipment, they’ve sold 100s of items, and your item will be nothing they can’t handle.

Cons - The most common percent of fees for brokered items is 10% (moving the decimal one place on $100,000 = $10,000). Many brokers have numerous clients and many obligations, you could potentially be one of 100 -200 customers they’re servicing at a particular time. You will not directly know the interest of your equipment to the market and could make for a long selling process. Bad brokers. There are many reputable brokering companies that are worth 10% or more of any item, but there are just enough brokers that talk the buyer up and the seller down to give everyone a bad taste. Not sure where to start looking for a dependable contact to represent your equipment, check out our Online Edition for a solid line up.

Who does this option work for? Equipment owners who would like an expert to act on their behalf, while saving time that takes away from what their everyday responsibilities.


Buy/Trade outlet, i.e.,

Pros - Direct control of entire selling process, from price, terms, and transportation. No pressure or obligation to continue to sell your equipment, if the decision is reverted, for example, a new job gets pushed through and that equipment is now needed. Selling your equipment directly carries the minimum number of people involved, by default will simplify the process. Sellers will avoid the previously mentioned high fees versus brokers or auction companies. Solid marketplaces and buy/sell/trade outlets will advise you on tips to help make the process go as smoothly as possible. Advertising in outlets, like, get your items in front of all potential buyers, including dealers, other brokers, and end-users.

Cons – Selling your own equipment can potentially be time-consuming by taking calls, following up, showing equipment, etc. Finding a reasonable asking price can be cumbersome in some circumstances, not all machines are equal - however, your account representative can help advise you on a target price. Just like brokers, selecting valuable outlets to use can be risky – focus on similar equipment listed (if there’s just one or two like items, you’re in the wrong spot), gauge their online services, 84% of adults use the internet, and reach out to past advertisers for reference, even if their item didn’t sell, they can give insight on the process. Prepaying for services, that is any less than 100% success rate always, carries a risk of being out the advertising cost. Logistics of a potential buyer can be a headache.

Who does this option work for? People who want to sell their own equipment efficiently, control the process, retain the selling amount in full and get their equipment in front of as many prospective buyers as possible.  Get started now!

FREE! - Local/Roadside/Craigslist

Pros – By far the cheapest option to utilize. 90% of potential buyers will be local, therefore, transportation of equipment won’t be a hurdle. You’re still selling the equipment yourself, so you will have complete control of selling process. No pressure from others in the selling process make for a stress-free experience.

Cons – If this option worked more often than not, this article would be two sentences long and the above options wouldn’t exist. Furthermore, low number of eyes on your equipment reduces response greatly. Let me explain, parking a Ford F-150 on a busy highway is a good idea. Everyone that drives by is a potential customer because they’re a driver. However, not every driver has a need for a used feller buncher or other heavy equipment. This route is a time killer, if your equipment is parked on the road for 2 months with no interest, that’s two months of no use and time that could’ve been advertised on a larger scale.

Who does this option work for? Sellers who aren’t in a hurry for any reason, don’t need to use the equipment during the selling process, and have a solid local market for their equipment for sale.


All options have ups and downs, that’s why they all exist. Your goals of selling your equipment will help determine which option fits you. Overall, selling your equipment isn’t hard, like many things, you just have to start. Many potential sellers put off liquidating tens of thousands of dollars in equipment because it seems overwhelming or time-consuming. However, that equipment is at its peak value today (assuming no upgrades or repairs are needed) and there’s a cost even for items that are paid for and not used. If I were selling my equipment, I’d use a couple options that are able to ensure I got my item in front of as many potential buyers as possible. The real winner here, is the buyer of your equipment – you just have to find him!

This Blog's For You

Yes, you!

You’re our reader, audience and what makes the forestry industry tick. It’s estimated that over 40% of all websites are directly or loosely blog based, and are intended to create revenue in various ways; cost-per-click advertising, banner advertising, or get the author of the blog exposure for their potential career in an area. The blog is for one reason, YOU! You as a sawmill manager, skidder operator, equipment dealer, lumber buyer, firewood business owner, woodworker, and every other role between standing trees and finished wood products.

What to Expect in this Blog?

A return on your time by providing valuable information to questions you’ve asked yourself throughout your career from our team with over 100 years of combined experienced. Using our expertise to help educate you on topics ranging from, “How to sell your equipment,” “How Stanfill Lumber found another use for forwarders,” to “The busiest day on the internet.” Questions our company receives often will be answered, questions we have that will be researched and reported on will be answered, and answers to questions some of us didn’t know existed, will be answered. Sometimes, maybe just questions.

What NOT to expect.

Ads, advertorial content, direct sales messages, less than accurate information, along with topics that don’t provide a helping hand. As mentioned in the first paragraph, most blogs exist to drive direct revenue in various ways – this is not one of those. Time wasters, a pointless post or activity online, will also not be found here. Social media, Yahoo, online surveys telling your celebrity match and endless games on our cell phones have those traps already set. This will be to inform, connect and educate our readers.


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