Don't Be That Guy At The Show!
Nobody wants to be “that guy.” You know, that guy that talks too loud. That guy that tells dumb jokes. That guy who wears too much Axe body spray. “That guy” is doing all the wrong things, and people are noticing.You’ve even seen him at trade shows. You’ve talked about him with your co-workers. You’ve vowed not to be THAT GUY. (In reality, we’ve all probably been “that guy” at some point.) The best way to handle it when you come across “that guy” is to smile and walk away, but here are the most obvious stereotypes of “that guy” to give you a chuckle and ensure you aren’t him!
1. THAT GUY WHO DOESN’T EVEN WANT TO BE HEREHe’s texting and talking and typing and eating and leaving the booth and taking breaks and avoiding customers and basically, doing everything but interacting with folks who drop by his booth. He might even be working, but he’s not working the booth. His body might be at the show, but his heart is somewhere else.
2. THAT GUY WHO IS AWKWARDHe offers you a cold, clammy hand to shake. He doesn’t quite know his way around the booth. He struggles to carry on his end of the conversation. He has to keep reading your name badge to remember your name. Or worse, he stands awkwardly in the middle of the booth, wondering how to approach you. Yikes! The worst part about “awkward guy” is that he makes the attendees feel awkward, and no one wants to be in that booth!
3. THAT GUY WHO’S AT THE WRONG SHOW
Oh, this poor guy. We’ve all seen him and we feel sorry for him. He’s misjudged his audience or the demographics at the show. So, he’s at a show trying to sell products to attendees who are not part of his buying audience. Somehow, out of thousands of shows, companies, markets, and attendees, this guy has managed to strike out.
4. THAT GUY WHO DOESN’T KNOW HOW TO MARKET HIMSELF
It’s a mystery. He has a sign, but it’s ambiguous. His company name doesn’t reveal his product. His exhibit graphics are a little too abstract to quite tell what message he’s peddling. This guy doesn’t know how to woo customers with his marketing. He’s so vague that no one is going to try and unveil his real purpose here – there are too many other booths that DO know how to market their products.
5. THAT GUY WITH THE BAD HYGIENE
Bad breath. B.O. Bad haircut. Messy clothes. You get the picture. Do NOT be that guy. Is it THAT hard to keep mints, deodorant, and a comb nearby?!
6. THAT GUY WITH THE BAD MANNERS
Have you ever talked with someone who is eating while they’re talking to you? Or smacking gum loudly? Or talking too loudly or closely? Or droning on and on about their bad day or some story you’re not interested in? Or they just don’t seem to be interested in YOU? All these examples fall under the umbrella of bad manners. Good manners make everything better; bad manners make everything worse. A great booth with a stellar product can quickly become a joke if the staffers have bad manners.
7. THAT GUY WITH THE TERRIBLE SWAG
Trade show attendees want swag that is fun, valuable, long-lasting, and useful. They DON’T want cheap trinkets, old product, or flimsy giveaways. Don’t let your worthless freebies make you the laughing stock of the trade show.
8. THAT GUY WITH THE OUTDATED BOOTH
Unless it’s relevant to your product or it enhances your design, your booth shouldn’t look like it was built last century. Dated booths make a bad impression, causing attendees to wonder if your product is dated, as well. Before each trade show season, take a minute to really look at your booth design – the colors, the décor, the design. Is it time to freshen up your look?
9. THAT GUY THAT NEVER FOLLOWS UP
Nothing will tank your business like not being a person of your word. If you break a promise to your potentials by not calling them after the show or sending them the materials they asked for or forgetting to check on a price or product for them, you are burning a bridge. That client is very likely going to skip your booth next time, and more than likely, spread the bad word. If you’re putting energy into getting leads, be sure to follow up with them.
It’s one thing to be “that guy” at the gym or the restaurant or even in your family, but you definitely don’t want to be him at events. Instead, be professional and classy, demonstrating your wisdom and cheer to all your visitors. This way, they’ll give you the chance to reveal how market-savvy you really are, and they’ll give your business a chance to meet their needs. In order for people to like your business, they have to like you.
This article was inspired by "Don't be 'That Guy' At Trade Shows" by Mike Thimmesch and first appeared at skyline.com