If you know me, you know I love a good theme and if you scroll back up to the top of this newsletter, you’ll see that my tip for DPMs this month was to identify one or a few individuals that would make solid travel partners; and this tip goes for exhibitors too!
You may not be in control of who you get to go to meetings with if you are not the owner of your company or you are not the director of your sales and/or marketing team. If you’re not in complete control of that, take this article and see if you can make some recommendations to the decision-maker. If you are in control, hopefully this article will help you break out of you comfort zone when it comes to who you decide to share your continental breakfast with.
If you didn’t already know Ann and I are each other’s “Ride or Die” – but don’t put that much pressure on yourselves. We don’t expect everyone to be able to be as adorable as us.
Obviously you want to travel with somebody you get along with. Not everyone in the office has to be your best friend, but it’s pretty safe to say that sales on the tradeshow floor are usually a bit more fluid when the team in the booth actually like one another. But beyond personalities, let’s hash out some ideas of why and who may be a good tradeshow companion for you.
Sales Rep and Marketing Coordinator Duo. This one is kind of a no-brainer. However, I have witnessed marketing directors come to the party and then just observe. Instead, make sure to get in the action. This is the best way to know if the tools you’re providing are actually helping the team close sales. When I was a marketing director for an orthotics lab, I would often go to shows and even make sales calls in the office just to have first-hand experience of what the sales reps were “dealing with.” It definitely helped me make some improvements to their sales tool kit by putting myself in their shoes (podiatry puns are the best).
Sales Rep and Owner. Eeee… this one makes me sweat just thinking about it. I’m sure many of you can understand the pressure of having your boss stand over you in a tradeshow booth. Maybe not though, if you’re one of the lucky ones who has an owner that lets you “do your thing.” This may sound strange, but I don’t really encourage this duo at a meeting. Sales representatives tend to flourish when they can be themselves and the feeling of the owner breathing down their necks could be very stifling. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is how it is in every situation, but if you’re an owner reading this right now, consider taking a step back and letting your talented team work their magic.
Sales Rep and Customer Service Rep. This combination can be a ton of fun! Often your clients have a face-to-face relationship with a sales rep, but they never get to see the emergency contact in customer service. Heading to a tradeshow together creates a strong sense of unity between these two roles because the client appreciates both of them in very different ways. When a sales rep gets to see the bond between a CS rep and a client, and vice versa, it can also create new communication protocols when you get back to the office.
Sales Rep and Manufacturing. This one always cracks me up; only because it’s hilarious to see the shock and awe of a home-base team member that works in the lab/shop/etc., is hands-on, and is so very proud of their work. And they should be… but they also get a little bit of an awakening when they come to a meeting and have to hear DPMs make comments that aren’t always sunshine and rainbows. Making sure the “builders” get first-hand testimony about their clients’ experiences is critical. It’s a great opportunity to let everyone know who the mastermind behind the most glorious product in the world is, but it also helps to open the minds of those who aren’t always on the front lines to strive for some improvement when they get back to headquarters.
Regardless of whom you pair up with at a meeting, mix it up to see what combinations work and which ones may need couples therapy.