Tradeshows are like the circus

Written by Susan Ratliff on November 12, 2011. Posted in Booth Blunders

Tradeshows are like the circus.  At the circus you see things that are amusing, astonishing and sometimes hard to believe, just like at some tradeshows I’ve been to.  Like the other day when I actually saw the sales rep for a well known pest control company having his dinner and a beer while seated on a bar stool behind the counter located at the front of his booth.  He smiled to passers-by as he chomped on his stir fry and swigged a cold one. 

Then there was the women at the Pet Expo reading a novel in the back corner of her ten foot booth, right next to her pop up display where her graphics promised personal attention to detail and stellar service.  

My favorite, was the Bank at a large financial tradeshow that had four men in nicely tailored suits, standing shoulder to shoulder, across the front of their display chatting to each other.  I actually stood there for a few minutes watching people pass by without even a nod from any one of the four representatives. They continued their intense dialog with each other as I saw three people stop, pick up a few pens and sticky pads and walk off.  I was so agast I went over there myself, stood there fingering the freebees and counted ten seconds before one of the idiots said anything to me.  I glanced at their name tags as I politely declined assistance.  Everyone had Vice President before their name.  That night I could not get that experience off my mind. 

The next day I called the local branch to speak to the Bank manager.  I prefaced the confession with a warning that I knew this would be upsetting, but, as The Exhibit Expert, I was compelled to tell him what I had seen and how he might want to make some changes in the future.  I said my piece, as kindly as possible and we hung up.  I was surprised when I got a call back from that manager the next day.  He said it took him the night to calm down.  He wanted to thank me for my report, insight and suggestions and promised he would speak to his entire staff and that would never happen again.  I told him his brand and the bank would benefit from that change.

So, what do you think?  Are these rare occurances?  Not!  Protect your brand image.  Remember first impressions are critical, especially on the show floor.  I suggest training your staff and have a discussion about booth etiquette.   Get on it because you never know when I  might come by and snap a photo of your top saleperson sleeping on the job (yes, I have seen that too)   For tips on training your exhibit marketing team, contact me, Susan Ratliff, The Exhibit Expert


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