Thursday, August 15, 2013
Why I Skip Your Booth at a Trade Show
I spent the last five days at a trade show in Las Vegas. The ASD is quite large with 2800+ vendors and literally miles of walking involved. While walking the exhibitor floor and looking at the various items vendors had for sale it occurred to me that some of these well-meaning companies actually have a tendency to run their customers off instead of invite them in to their booths.
As a buyer and owner of a small business I spend a lot of money, time, and physical effort traveling to wholesale shows to find product. I HAVE to purchase product to keep my company going. Plus I look for new product. I'm very serious about the process and resent when vendors make my job harder than it should be. I treat the whole thing as a necessary part of survival.
Browsing is my main preference for discovering new product. I can swiftly cover lots of ground and view a lot of items in seconds. If I see something interesting I stop and inquire. Otherwise, I'm traveling quickly to take in as much territory as possible. Being nearly sixty years old my browse speed is diminishing and maybe so is my patience. I definitely don't have the stamina to walk these giant shows like I did when I was younger. That makes it even more important to make the most of my time and energy. Its quite limited nowadays. Stopping this shopping process causes me and the vendor money.
For instance, as I walked up to a product on a table the salesman got between me and the item insisting on helping me. I didn't need sales help at the moment and just wanted a closer look . I moved to the side to get to the product and he jumped in front of me again. Exasperated, I told him I only wanted to look. He then started to qualify me.
What are you looking to buy?
How many stores do you have?
Do you sell on the Internet?
What's your monthly sales?
Where are you from?
Hey those Cowboys are looking weak this season eh?
Pretty hot isn't it?
All of this when I don't need any words from him at all, At this point I'm just trying to get away from him. I don't care what he's selling. He has effectively diverted me from looking, asking questions, buying. Really that's all there is to it for me. If you have a booth please don't stop that flow.
Sometimes when you look down an aisle the salespeople are standing out in the walkway practically forming a gauntlet. This eliminates browsing as you will have to acknowledge every one of them in some manner even if its only walking around them. I generally speed up and act as uninterested as possible.
Another sure fire fail is to try and make eye contact with me and give me your sad puppy face. You are distracting me from looking. I feel like you are about to ask me for pocket change. I generally dodge beggars of every stripe. I will definitely speed by your booth.
I will probably take some flack for this next one but another thing that doesn't help is having teenage girls showing entirely too much cleavage in micro skirts. I realize they are probably in their twenties but they look like little girls to me. Just what kind of customers are you looking for? And further, just what are you selling here? I pre-qualify myself away from your booth.
Please don't make political statements or cultural remarks either verbally or with your clothing. Wearing shirts with religious symbols, black power, rainbows, political stances, insults......are not conducive to a business relationship. I don't need to worry about disagreeing with you. Please don't make me.
Some booths are very busy making it hard to ask questions. I understand that. I know the world doesn't stop for me. Just make sure that price, case pack, weight, and pallet carton count is available on the label and I will determine if I will wait or come back later. Don't put that info in code as it is only irritating and slows down my search. Unless the item is really great a crowded booth with coded labels will make me leave.
Aggressive salesmen are a turn off too. Don't tell me what I'm going to buy. Don't insist and certainly don't be condescending.
Since you have paid to exhibit at a show try to be flexible in your minimum purchases and ship dates. Nothing is worse than a company telling me how much I need to buy or where I can sell it. Suggesting these levels is understandable, demanding them is not. I actually had a company raise its wholesale prices when I told them I was going to sell on Amazon's Third Party Seller platform. Really? Just how much of a lock on the market do these guys think they have?
Now there a great many booths run correctly that make buyers feel welcome with knowledgable sales people, with chairs to sit in to rest and talk. Some sort of literature is always welcome but don't force it on me. I appreciate free water, coffee, and even a snack, though none of that will make me buy from you. I don't really want key rings, coffee cups, letter openers, Koozies, or pens. I do want a business card and a way to staple it to any catalogs you might have. If I have placed an order with you I do expect a copy of the order. Don't expect payment at that very moment though. It's amazing how many orders are lost at the big shows so I prefer to pay when you call and tell me the order is ready. Please take all forms of payment. Make the buying process as simple as possible. Try to never say NO. I hate it when a company won't take my primary American Express Plum Card. This actually makes my accounting process harder.
Always know each units weight and dimensions, UPC code, wholesale price, suggested retail price, units per case, total weight, cases per pallet and its weight. Have a current inventory count on hand. Be prepared to offer a usable jpg if I ask for it. Know the colors and sizes available immediately.
Let me know if you are selling your products direct to any of the big boys such as Walmart, Amazon, Home Depot, etc. It doesn't make some buyers any difference but it does me.
Above all, don't lie to me about the products scarcity, value, marketability, condition, availability date, ship speed and a bunch of other stuff I can't remember. If we are to be continuing partners I must trust you. If I catch you in a lie I won't forget and most likely wont buy from you again.
Making my visit smooth and stress free will certainly help in my appreciation and openness to your product and company and may actually increase the time I'm in your booth instead of running by it.
To see some of my finds visit DC Mach Inc.