Trade Show Guy

“If I show up at your door, chances are you did something to bring me there.” – Martin Blank

Trade shows.

I’ll say it again. Trade shows.

Some of you just got the same feeling like when you go over the edge in a rollercoaster, some of you just got excited because you get to find LEEEADSS!!!1! and some of you probably just made the same face Lee Harvey Oswald did when he got shot by Jack Ruby.  It’s okay – we’re not really at a trade show…take a deep breath and just come along for the ride.

Trade shows are a necessary evil of our lives. Whether you’re in sales, a techie, a manager, or some combination of those, we all have to go to them at some point in time or another.    It could even be worse…*gasp*…you may have to man a booth at one.

With tradeshows comes “that guy”.  And not “a” that guy…no, there are multiple branches of this particular family tree, and when I said that, it just hit you in the head just like a V-8 because you know exactly who I am talking about…

With that being said, let’s have a little lesson in guys you don’t want to be…

1. Selling to people with booths guy.

You all know this guy… To me, they all blend in and look like Mr. Belding from Saved by the Bell….

He didn’t sponsor the event, he didn’t buy a booth, hell, he didn’t even buy a lunch ticket, but damn it, he is going to pitch his bullshit product to every Tom, Dick, and Harry sitting behind a booth.

He could care less what you have to offer, hell, he might even ask the infamous question, “So, what does your company do?” all the while not paying attention to a word you are saying, only thinking when the perfect time might be to jump in and pitch his wares.

He is the seagull of the tradeshow circuit, and this would be a great time to see if that urban legend about feeding them Alka-Seltzer is true or not.

2. I am at a booth, but I am too cool to be here guy

There are always 5-6 booths at every event that are either empty, or manned by a sales guy who spends 80% of the show in the lobby on his cell phone, sitting in the booth, but on his laptop doing emails all day, or simply not giving a damn what happens at the booth.

You just spend $750+ for your company to be represented, and you are going to do emails all day?  Really?  Yeah, you might have to talk to 50 people to get 2 new business opportunities, but those are 2 you didn’t have yesterday, so suck it up and do what you’ve been sent there to do – your job.

So stop trying to be Mr. Hot Shot and actually talk and listen to people – you might be amazed at what can happen if you do.

3. Tchochke Guy



So you are at a trade show, and someone is giving away these at their booth…

What do you do?

a)      Knock over 15 people and snatch one like it was the last meal in a Russian bread line?

b)      Pretend you are interested in said company and politely say “Ooo, these are cool, can I have one of these?”

c)      Leave them alone…

Well, unless you enjoy having boxes and boxes of garbage lying around your cube or in a random box in the basement or attic at home that you won’t find until the next time you move, I suggest “c”.

What in the world do you do with all that crap?? You know who you are Mr. “Fill up an entire tote full of trade show garbage”. Is there a black market on this stuff? Can you eBay a koosh ball?  Are you trying to recapture some long-lost childhood memory of Trick or Treating?

Either way, have some common sense at trade shows, treat them for what they are, and for the love of God…Don’t Be That Guy.  That Guys?  Those Guys?  Whatever.  You know what I mean.

Until next time…