It’s Show Time!
Convention season has begun! Exhibitors will spend thousands of dollars to show their wares to hundreds of attendees at any one of thousands of association trade shows. Nowhere else can a seller see as many customers, prospects, and other industry vendors at one time. What a time to strut your best stuff!
Last month I was the keynote speaker at a state insurance industry convention. As always, I arrived the day before the engagement to roam the trade show floor looking for long-lost pals, new prospects, and to attend the opening night dinner.
As I wandered down the exhibition hall, I recognized a firm I had recently contacted. This company was featured in a national trade publication as a star in its field. As I frequently do, I had sent a congratulatory letter and a copy of my book to the marketing manager featured in the article. I never heard back, but that’s not uncommon. I approached their booth, and the marketing manager was there. I extended my hand and introduced myself. “I know who you are,” she impatiently replied. “You sent me some information.” I smiled and said that I had and that’s what I do to introduce myself to good businesses. She cut me off saying, “Well, WE don’t need your services!”
Wow! I took a deep breath. I thought of one of the four agreements Don Miguel Ruiz talks about in his book The Four Agreements, don’t take anything personally. He says nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality.
The marketing manager went on. “Anyway,” she said coldly, “I passed along your information to the person who handles our internal operations.” Her body language indicated I was dismissed. Pleasantly thanking her for her time, I moved on. But I have to wonder, why would anyone at a business event behave in a way that was anything but courteous and professional? There’s a lot at stake when you “exhibit yourself.”
Here are a few reminders for optimum trade show performance.
1. Have a team meeting with those staffing the booth. Discuss how to greet people, what information to ask, and what information to offer. Smiling and introducing yourself is mandatory.
2. Make people glad they stopped by. Be interested in what they do. Even if they aren’t prospects, they may know people who are or tell people how they were treated.
3. Develop a list of ten prospects from the attendee list. If they don’t stop by, ask others where to find them.
4. Be the first to arrive and the last to leave. It doesn’t bode well for your company for attendees to see an empty booth.
5. Don’t eat or drink liquor at your booth. Remember what you are there for.
How important is it to be on your best behavior at business events? Well, what’s your reputation worth?
Emily Huling Selling Strategies, Inc. P.O. Box 200 Terrell, NC 28682
Phone: 888-309-8802 Fax: 888-309-7355