How To Get The Most Out Of Hardscape North America


If you have never been to Hardscape North America in Kentucky, drop what you’re doing and make plans to attend in October. From new products to educational sessions that will keep you updated on trends and help you grow your business, this is the event to attend if you’re a member of the landscape design/build industry.

Held in conjunction with GIE+EXPO Oct. 19-20 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, HNA boasts more than 750 exhibitors ranging from compaction equipment to lighting, skid-steer loaders and retaining wall systems to trucks and trailers and everything in between.

One of the major highlights of HNA, in addition to the new products, are the educational sessions. These classes are led by industry experts on a variety of topics and are chock-full of information you can bring home with you and put to work right away. So far this year HNA has announced eight sessions, including topics such as estimating jobs correctly to make a profit, led by George Hedley; mastering communication with Randy Anderson; motivating your hardscape team with Jerry Gaeta, and more. David Murray, safety and health consultant for the state of Nevada, will speak about how to comply with the new crystalline silica regulation from OSHA. Another class will cover lead generation and how homeowners behave online, led by Todd Bairstow, a contractor and online marketing expert.

As you can tell from this short summary of a few of the sessions, the topics vary between on-the-job information you must know, to ways to generate new business and more. There really is something for everyone on your team at HNA, and it’s important to keep a few things in mind so you don’t leave all that knowledge in the session and fail to put it into action once you get home. Here are a few tips:

1. Write it down. Don’t trust your memory when it comes to this much valuable information. With the number of sessions and demonstrations available at HNA, keep a notebook handy and have space available on your smartphone or tablet to tape sessions so you can play them back later.

2. Collect handouts and business cards. Some sessions may include important step-by-step instructions or calculations that will come in handy back home, so bring a folder to keep all the handouts organized, and take the speaker’s business card with you (and anyone whose booth you visit). Write on the back of the card which session or booth that person was with, or a few notes if you have a question you’d like to email him or her later.

3. Choose one action point. At the end of each session, think of one thing you can put into action in your business when you return from your trip. What is the one informative nugget that stood out for you where you thought, “I could do this!” Use that enthusiasm and put it into play right away.

4. Pass on the knowledge. When you get back to your office, think about any sessions that would provide good training for your employees who were unable to travel to Kentucky. Can you whip up a presentation on lead generation for your marketing and sales staff? Make copies of the handouts you collected, and even arrange for the speaker to call in or visit with your staff in person.