Monday, April 10, 2006

Profiling Trade Show Attendees.

I had cause to recently organize and man an exhibit at an automotive trade show. This was my first time on that side of the counter, and it was an experience. It was extremely exhausting, but I did amuse myself by watching and categorizing the attendees at this event. To attract people, we had a great big bowl of candy sitting on the main desk. This helped a little in forming a couple of the categories. So here they are....

The Candy Bandit.

A strange species. Will walk toward your exhibit, staring intently at the floor until the very last minute, at which point he will shift his gaze to the candy dish. He will then advance, and quickly, and grab a decent handful of the sweet items, before scurrying away. Never at any point will he make eye contact with anyone on the booth.

The Candy Trickster.

Similar in motive to the Candy Bandit, but employs different tactics. Will approach the booth, will say hello, and even feign interest in what we do. After some smiling, nodding, etc, will suddenly see the candy. And ask if he can have some. And walk away.

The Candy Thug.

These guys will look you in the eye before stealing your candy. Some will speak, and say they are not interested in what we are exhibiting, but just want candy. And then they take it. They don't care. Disagree at your own risk. There are the real hard-core ones who will take the treats, and then put the empty wrapper back in the bowl.

The Fish

These spend time just floating around the exhibit; they like looking and may even take a brochure. When approached, they jump and move backwards, only to stealthily swim back in and look, before disappearing silently into the depths of show. (Some of these types actually do look like a fish).

The Muppet

Amongst the more annoying. Of the caliber who begs the question "did you get past 2nd grade?" These will ask the dumbest of questions, some will disagree with what you tell them in the craziest of ways. Some come out with strange random gibberish. These people are also big brochure gatherers, they tend to have multiple cloth bags filled with papers on subjects broad and complex. You know theses brochures will reside in
their basements for at least 100 years, unread.

The Done-It-All-Donkey

Theses wondrous beings will engage in conversation with you. And then tell you that whatever you are doing or selling, they have already done. Only better, bigger, and with more vigor. They've done it 10 time more than you have, many years before you have. Heck, they invented the technology. These annoyers will ask you a question, and before you can inhale the breath to answer it, they have it answered. They don't seem to get the "bored" look at all, and could continue talking for hours. These require and receive curt shortness as you inform them that you need to go guard the corner flag, goodbye. The will then wander to the next exhibit and camp there too.

The Bag Of Tat Man

A lot of companies give away goodies at these shows. Mugs, t-shirts, squeezy stress relievers, pens, notepads, mouse mats, etc (we gave away candy). There are some people who attend these shows to get as much free junk as possible. I wonder often of they are even engineers at all, or even remotely connected to the subject of the show. They have TONS of junk, and they pass a booth, scanning it to see of there is anything worth taking. That is their main interest criteria. Any junk? No? OK, next.

The Role Reverser

Beatings should be administered to these people. They initially have an interest in what you're doing, and can talk the talk. And after a good 5-minute conversation, they inform you of what they are selling and why you need it. Or what magazine they have that you should advertise in. Or why you neeed to invest in their company or country. Or whatever. My initial thought was .. Hey, you're here at MY exhibit trying to sell YOUR stuff. Go Away. These are the ultimate time wasters.

Well that's my categories of trade sow attendees. There are of course some who are serious, and could possible lead to some serious business, but it really seem to be a 1 in 50 hit rate. The other 49 fall into the above types.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

other stuff on the way

this is as much of a reminder to me as anything. i have a few categories of trade show attendees, what not to do a a concert when standing behind me and lots of half written floriduh stuff...