Selling at Trade Shows

I recently had the opportunity to visit the North American Music Manufacturers (NAMM) show in Anaheim, California. I am a bit of an amateur musician (I play guitar and write music) and since I was in LA on business it seemed like a great thing to do.

The show did not disappoint and was packed full of interesting booths. It was pretty intense, as you might expect, and the brain was assaulted by both noise and visual stimuli. It got pretty tiring after a while.

Anyway, the reason for this post is that I was surprised at what a poor job most of the booth staff did when it came to engaging with potential customers. I know booth space at a show like NAMM is not cheap so you would think companies would train their staff and make the most of the opportunity.

In the majority of the booths I visited, the staff did not make any attempt to talk with me. Most of the time they were talking with each other or otherwise engaged in some technical or other activity. I had to approach them to get information. Now before you say I must have been looking a bit scuzzy or forgot to have my monthly shower, its not true! I was actually well washed and dressed appropriately. I even smelled nice.
If your company exhibits at a trade show, make an effort to train your staff that the main reason they are there is to capture leads and facilitate sales. And that means making eye contact with a person that visits the booth. Begin a conversation with the visitor and go through the qualification process. Capture their contact information and indicate what sort of a lead they may be. Follow-up with the lead when back in the office.

Please, please, make sure your booth staff know that their conversations with each other should be of much lower priority than the customer.

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