Annoying trade show sales

Due to my work, I attend a lot of trade shows. And thus, I observe a lot of lousy trade show behavior.

My view on a recent train ride...

My view on a recent train ride…

But first, to set the table, I also ride the train a lot here in Metro Atlanta. Mostly, I am taking it to the airport, but on occasion I take the train downtown or to the Georgia World Congress Center for a trade show gig (like I did this morning).

To those of you who ride the train, there is one occasional occurrence that is a little annoying, and that is the panhandling.

You put up with it, because you know it will happen, you pretend to ignore it, and hope the person goes away.

Well guess what? I’ve defined an all too common SALES activity seen FAR TOO OFTEN at a trade show:

Trade Show Panhandling.

What is that? It is the act of manning your trade show booth, and hanging (annoyingly) in the aisle on the trade show floor, blocking attendees to ask them if they are interested in your booth, and/or asking to zap their badge to capture their email address.

They’ll pretend to listen, attempt to be polite, allow you to scan their badge, hoping that expedites you getting out of their face.

These people don’t want to talk to you. If they did, they’d have walked up to your booth to inquire.

No, they are trying to get somewhere, anywhere, other than having to talk to you.

In fact, they saw you from a distance, and were hoping to not make eye contact with you. They considered going down another aisle. But no, instead:

They put up with it, because they know it will happen, they pretend to ignore it, and hope that YOU go away.

If you go ALL THE WAY to attend a trade show, spend all that money setting up an exhibit, spend all that money sending people to man the booth, spend all that money renting the floor space, and your strategy is to have staff stalk pedestrians in the aisles?

You are doing it wrong.

Key to success: Go to a trade show knowing exactly who you need to talk to, setting face time with the handful of people that will make the difference for your trade show success…

If your whole strategy depends on random meetings, you will fail. Or at least waste a ton of money.

Just today, we interviewed the gentlemen who is actually running the MODEX14 show we are broadcasting at, and he said the following:

“90% of the sales success found at a trade show is done before the exhibit hall ever opens.”

True that.

Stop panhandling.

Author:  by Todd Schnick · March 17, 2014