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I was at productronica recently, and it was a busy exhibition. I have seen booths that were so crowded that people were standing in the aisle to talk with company representatives. These companies effectively used the four days to connect with other people and send out positive messages about their products, their services and their companies.
There were also booths that were nearly empty. Were the products of those companies unattractive? No, definitely not. The employees of these companies were sitting in corners playing with their mobiles or hammering something into their laptops. They were not trying to make contact with people who were looking at the exhibited products; they simply ignored them.
I wanted to speak to the sales manager of a large EMS company in Eastern Germany. He was sitting in a corner, playing with his mobile. So, I approached the lady at the counter and asked to speak with him. She said he was busy, that I should leave my business card with her, and she would call me as soon as he was free. Over the next one and a half days, I received no call. I passed by the booth and always saw him sitting in the corner playing with his mobile. The booth was empty all the time.
Here are my conclusions and recommendations specifically to the owners of the companies:
1. Exhibitions are very expensive and are a marketplace to promote your products and your company. Even if a visitor is not a potential buyer he either carries a positive or a negative impression about your company into the market.
2. If an employee is so busy in his daily work that he cannot make contact with people at the exhibition, he should not be sent to the exhibition.
3. You should carefully plan and control the activities at the exhibition, otherwise you are wasting money.
4. People who do not contact people at the exhibition, but just wait for existing customers to visit, should be fired on the spot for total incompetence. No company needs such people.
5. If you only want to contact existing customers, don’t go to an exhibition. Personally visit those customers at their factories; it is more effective and less expensive.
I know what I am talking about. I have run my own company with 350 employees in the past. My exhibition booth at productronica was always crowded and I was making profits—the elementary basis for every company.