Tis the season for conferences and expo’s---- They are a great way to network, meet new potential clients, see a new place, and spread your company name. However, if you have ever been a vendor on the other side of the table at these conferences you know that not everyone who comes up to your booth is there to learn more about you company. In the name of entertainment, we have made this short and sweet eccentric people expo guide of the four types of people that you will run into at conferences and how to manage them.
1. Chatty Cathy
This close talking conversation enthusiast can either help make a conference memorable or make your life horrible. Chatty Cathy comes in all forms, shapes, and sizes from the “let me tell you a story” guy, to “you remind me of so-and-so” person, to the “I like your shirts” randomness and many more. The whole risk comes from eye contact and a smile. This person is just looking for a nice person to help pass the time and you are that victim. If you are having a slow day, Chatty Cathy helps pass the time and is wonderful, making you laugh, and giving you something to remember. If things are busy though, you are possibly missing out on whoever it is you really want to talk to. The key to managing this eccentric person is making sure you can gauge your flow of other people and know what the agenda is for the conference. If it is a break time or coming close to one you need to help shed this chatty character. If not, enjoy the story, pull up a seat, or get a coffee.
2. Freebie Freddy
Pretty self-explanatory, Freebie Fred only wants to know what merch you have for him. They come in, swoop by close enough to see if it is cool, flashy, or if it’s just simply for the taking and will slide it right into their goodie bag. You can typically spot Freddie a mile away, their bag is already full, they are wearing all the gear from previous booths and they also are immediately eyeing your table not you or your marketing material. Best thing if you actually are just giving some things away is to quickly direct them to something you want to provide and keep them moving. If you want, try to say hello or get your 30 second commercial in, but know you won’t get far so don’t take it personal.
3. The "I'm Not The Guy" Guy
There are quite a few “I like it, but I’m not the guy” Guys who want to help but simply don’t have the buying power in their company to purchase your product. The key to these eccentric expo people is picking their brain. These well-meaning, non-decision makers can be your champion throughout the process and if you stay on their team, they will support you, talk about you, and be the voices for some of the new products and uses for your company. As they express extreme interest pick their brain on finding out what the typical process for decisions is for their company, who are the decision makers, what they like and don’t like and how you can work with “I’m not the guy” guy to change the company for the better. Keep in touch with them, offer to buy them coffee or lunch and keep them engaged and happy and it will be worth your while, but remember don’t go too extreme, because they are not “the guy”.
4. The Unicorn
The interested future customer that has the buying power is the whole reason you are at the conference. If you can find them or realize you have one don’t let it go. Keep them engaged, find their interest, timeline and pain and how you can address their needs. Make sure you find out what else they are looking for, be a resource to them and yes do not forget to get their information and set up a follow up. You are a pro, don’t get mesmerized by the unicorn and forget to take a picture.
Now, I know that this is silly and pokes fun at people, but on a more serious note, we love going to conferences and are happy to see anyone who is willing to come up and say hi, yes, even you Mr.Freebie. I know there are times where I have certainly been all four of these types of people depending on my company and the journey of my career. No matter who you are, you are always welcome to come to the STAC table and talk.