Why Customers Pass You By

One of our fantastic editors, Amy Lorton, was recently at a massive trade show. As she was walking through the exhibit hall, something caught her attention. There was a stark difference between the vendors who were slammed and the vendors who had no traffic. The ones who were not busy were all sitting down.

I wonder what the thought process is behind this type of salesmanship. Maybe they don’t want to bug people. Maybe they’re afraid that if they stand up, they will be too intrusive. Maybe they think the only way to engage someone who hasn’t first engaged them is to act like a bad used car salesman. I really don’t know the reason, but I do get that their current sales plan isn’t working very well.

You don’t have to attack me as I walk by, but at least make me think you are interested in your product. When I see you sitting there waiting on me to come up to you, I figure what you have to sell can’t be that good. And possibly, that’s why nobody is at your booth. It’s because they figured it out, as well. Instead, get on your feet and make me believe you have something that I need.

As a salesperson, you have to realize that so much of your sale is relational. When our Financial Peace University team exhibits at a conference, they are constantly on their feet trying to engage the attendees walking by. They don’t run out into the aisle and attack them, but they make sure they are there to answer any question attendees have, as well as serve them anyway possible.

Some vendors believe that if people want to know about their product, they will come to them. Actually, the truth is that attendees at a large trade convention are roaming through the mass collection of wares wondering if anything is right for them. Show them how your product is the thing they need. Do it well, do it nicely, but stand up and do it!

Question: Who are you more likely to engage, someone sitting down or someone standing?



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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.

13 thoughts on “Why Customers Pass You By”

  1. Yes! ispent 4 years exhibiting at locations all over the country and my experience totally supports what you said here. Standing helps a lot. What I found takes it a step further though is smiling at people. Have you ever noticed it’s hard for people to not smile when they see you smile at them? Try it! It’s so true. I found this immediately created a bond between me and the passerby. When I started doing this after I read about the power of a smile somewhere, I saw immediate results. So, even if you do have to sit, at least smile!

  2. Standing is definitely better because it’s active instead of passive. You can look them in the eye when they pass by and give them a friendly smile that engages them. It shows that you are “at the ready” instead of a passive observer waiting on someone to stop at your exhibit.

  3. Spot on, again! When I do those outdoor art fairs, I greet every person passing by. Sometimes I say “It’s okay to come look – I won’t make you buy anything!” and then we both get a laugh.

    It IS more aggressive to stand – so what? I own that 10×10′ space for a short period of time, and aggressiveness is needed to take advantage of all opportunities to meet and greet and hopefully sell that day and maybe sell later after they’ve learned I’m not as scary as I look!

  4. I agree that exhibitors who seem to have an interest in the people who are attending seem to be more inviting than those who just sit back. It does look slouchy.

    I think the biggest key at these shows is booth people creating an aura of being approachable. Unless I specifically need information, I don’t go attempt to make conversation with those who appear to be relaxing or just at the show because they drew the short straw. But on the other hand I don’t want to feel swarmed simply because I’m a prospect.

    A healthy I’m here to answer your questions or help is what I’m on the lookout to receive.

    BTW, Amy is a cousin to one of my team members who just retired. .

  5. I find this trait is one that is becoming more prevalent in individuals…for some reason they feel they shouldn’t have to go to that effort to engage you. Similarly, I have potential clients call me and want to drill me over the phone on how my services work and what I charge. When I try to get more information on their business and what services they provide and what options they are looking for so that I know how I can best serve them, sometimes this is met with opposition and questions like how or why does this matter? When I explain that I am not the traditional medical billing and accounting services provider and I want to serve them in all ways possible and would like to come in and discuss things with them, some of them don’t want that…they just want answers over the phone and to move on to the next company to drill next. If I let them get away with this, I will not gain their business and they will not see the value in what I provide and prove how I am different. If I get the chance to stand in front of them, engage them in their business, I have a high chance of gaining their business. Interesting concepts to think about and implement. Be personable and you will reap the rewards!

  6. Very interesting……I think that when I am operating a booth – for any reason – I WANT to be standing. I feel I can interact with the people who are passing by.

    And then I think of the times I have passed on by a booth where someone was SITTING – I believe I felt I would be “intruding” to stop by their booth – they might have to stand up ……they looked comfortable and I wouldn’t want to draw them out of their comfort zone…..So…..standing indeed beats sitting.

    Or at least if you are operating a booth – only sit when no one is looking!

  7. This is absolutely true. I do a lot of recruiting at conferences and this is one of the differences between good vendors and the others. The ones who take the time to look interesting and engage people always have someone to talk to.

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