. . . and your enemies closer. And yes, you will find both at shows. Perhaps not enemies, but certainly competitors. And I, like the Godfather, encourage you to get to know them at the show.
Why? Because if you are friendly competition, they may actually refer you to someone they cannot help, or who needs something specific you carry.
Shows are also great for making related-field contacts. If you sell patio furniture, get to know the pool companies. If you photograph babies, get to know the exhibitors selling children's clothing. Many exhibitors have told me some of their best show leads come from other participating companies.
You never know which of those enemies will become your friends. And remember, in the field of helping friendly competitors - it is definately quid pro quo. Life, and referrals, work on the law of the boomerang.
David J Zimmerman
Southern Shows Inc.