AUTHOR: Derse  /  March 9, 2017

CATEGORY: CultureIndustry

Derse’s Face-to-Face blog series introduces you to the people behind our innovative, customer-centric company.

While all positions at Derse are critical to Derse’s success, one position is essential to keeping our business moving: Sales. Our sales team is the face of our company and carries significant weight in delivering on customers’ critical needs. It takes a specific person to succeed as a salesperson in the trade show industry. Someone who leads with intrepidity, chutzpah and conviction.

Today, we had the chance to sit with Senior Account Executive Lisa Schwabenlander. Lisa is part of our top twenty percent sales professionals who achieved the highest volume for the year. Her career encompasses 25 years of trade show and event marketing experience, and she has been with Derse for over 20 years. She specializes in the growth and development of Derse’s new clients and longtime partnerships with companies such as Moen, Fiserv and Honeywell.

To say the least, Lisa has mastered career longevity in the trade show industry. We wanted to learn more about how she handles the twists and turns that come with delivering face-to-face marketing programs.

Meet Lisa

After 25 years, what keeps you going?
My clients. I consider my team and myself as each of my client’s right arm. I am the first person they call with their challenges, big or small. Maybe they need to find a last-minute speaker for their event, or they need help integrating Facebook Live into their engagement. They tune me into the trends and top audience concerns in each of their industries. I grow with each question and new project.

What gives you your edge in your career?
I don’t service a niche industry. My diverse clientele gives me insights into different markets, and I take what I learn and transfer it to the next project. I cross-pollinate ideas between industries, shows, and regions. My clients are self-aware of trends in their industries, but I am the person to help them see outside of themselves and try new ways to refresh their programs, even after decades working together.

How have you seen the trade show industry evolve?
Success requires full integration. Yes, the business started with booths and signage, but now we have to think about how to enhance the customer experience off the show floor, before, during and after. We have to think smart and stay one step ahead, working details like choreography, communications, social media, public relations, and measurement into our strategy. I’m glad to see this evolution. The industry would be very boring if we were still only talking about building exhibits.

Any old industry habits that need to be put to rest?
That’s tough to answer. I do see a lot of over-tasking happening within a small time frame. But to me, that’s the nature of the beast. To work in this industry, you have to be able to respond fast and turn around even faster. You need to be flexible to an ever-evolving client base and technological advances. Saying “no” to things we aren’t familiar with, or thinking “that’s how we’ve always done it,”  isn’t an option. If you fall into this “habit” of wanting to achieve too much in a short timeframe, find a trusted partner who believes in your vision and understands that no detail is too small.

On second thought – mums. That’s a habit we can kick. No more mums, or any other plants, in the booth.

Duly noted, Lisa!





BIO:Derse is the complete face-to-face marketing agency and exhibit builder with more than 465 employees and six full-service divisions. Ranked as a Top 10 Experiential/Event Marketing Agency by Advertising Age and B2B Top Shop by Chief Marketer, Derse brings a smarter wins approach to exhibits, events and environments for client programs in more than 50 countries.