Engage Your Customers Even At Trade Shows.

In case you guys don’t know this, my family is in the retail business. We have a couple of stores over on the beach, and it’s something that we’ve all worked on over the past 9 or so years.

Around the start of the year, and then again around Late Summer some industry trade shows are held in Florida and that is where we get to see some of the latest products for season, talk with reps, order merchandise, etc.

Without fail there are always some obnoxious reps, reps that couldn’t give-a-crap, reps that follow you around the booth all stoic, and the list goes on and on and on.

Basically, I wonder why they are there.

Why would I give them my business?

However, this year the utter lack of caring and rudeness became more apparent to me since reading the wonderful book Un-Marketing by Scott Stratton. A part of his book is on this very topic. It is a great read, and the guy clearly “gets it”. You should buy it off Amazon or better yet your local book store.

But, amongst all the epic fails there manages to be some guy or gal that engages with me (the customer) on a level that is on a different plane. They shine the most amazing bursts of ethereal light, that sometimes you question is this really happening. And after the initial shock, you quickly get over it and talk some business.

So, it got me thinking. What sets these individuals apart from the pack? I settled on this…

They actually want your business. They act like they want to be there, they don’t just “show up”. They are willing to go that extra mile so to speak, and for that they are rewarded with my business.

Let me clarify something here.

Their product has to be a Rock Star. If it’s not… No matter how nice they are to me they’re still not getting my business. Because at the end of the day I still have to put money in the bank.

But, there are probably a lot of really good products out there.

The ones that get my business will be from the folks who care enough to engage.

If you are just starting a business, or are already out there in the marketplace. Think of how you can engage your prospects, clients, and customers in a way that will rock their socks off.

Today, there was this one company that did everything right.

The owner and the guy working the booth really left an impression. He was attentive, his product was attractive, prices are reasonable, cared enough to listen, cared enough to ask questions, told me about his product lines, payment and order taking was a breeze. It just worked. Guess what? Out of 140 booths I stopped by today he was the only booth that got my business. (The other I might get later, I might not. Most of them won’t even follow up with so I will probably end up forgetting they exist.)

Here’s another fact. That was the only person who engaged me.

There are some awesome ways to engage your customers at trade shows.

Here are some tips to do that…

  • Look them in the eye.
  • Listen to what they have to say. Don’t just hear.
  • Care enough to ask them about there own business, or store.
  • Explain your products clearly, with passion.
  • Don’t sell crap. Sell quality things with a real potential for both parties to make a profit.
  • Don’t sell everywhere, to everyone. (This is very important to specialty retail stores like ours, it gives that exclusivity and feeling of protection.)
  • Don’t sit on a chair in the corner on a laptop. Stand up and be attentive.
  • Talk with them, show them around, and make them feel welcomed.
  • Engage.

At the end of the day, why come all the down to Florida to talk on your cell phone and not talk to potential customers that are there standing in front of your booth. That is why you bought the booth, setup space, and are taking time on the weekends! You want more business!

So, I hope you can take some of the tips and find a space for them in your business. If you are already engaging; great. Because with the internet, and some very savvy entrepreneurs out there that are changing the way customers buy things. Companies that do not keep up with the times will become extinct like all things that don’t evolve.

If you want my business, you have to engage me.

– Mark

One thought on “Engage Your Customers Even At Trade Shows.

  1. Hi Mark, my name is Ezio Del Degan I came across your webpage today and I was wondering wether you are Danny or Johnny Del Degan`s son my cousins from Toronto, I am living now in Gatineau Quebec.

    If you are let me know, I would like to get in touch with Johnny or Danny


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