March 16, 2020- Grrr…buckle up for this post. It’s about to get heated.
I was at a tradeshow last weekend, and there had to be fifty or more vendors set up around the room. There were businesses that dealt with health and alternative medicine, personal beauty, finance, and everything in between. As I made my way down the aisles, I counted on one hand how many people engaged with me as a customer…my grand total? 3. Three people said hello and started up a conversation about their business, what they were doing at the show, and how their services/products could potentially help me.
I wasn’t shocked, and that’s something that we should be worried about. It means that as a society, we have been trained over the years to expect crappy service and rude/rushed sales associates. As consumers, we’ve been trained to get things ourselves, and this trickles all the way down to self-checkout processes. Some business owners make the horrible and profit hurting assumption that if people want to buy our products, they’ll be the ones to break the ice, so why should we bother to look up from our phones or even stand up to greet them. And we wonder why online shopping and Amazon are taking over the world. I don’t wonder, I know.
Let me remind you-NO ONE CARES WHO YOU ARE. If you’re in business or an author for that matter, it’s YOUR job to make people CARE about who you are and what you have to say. I tell my authors this all the time when they are about to do a book signing, “You are not James Patterson, no one is here to see you.” Harsh? Maybe, but they’re a tough group and they get my point that they need to engage with readers. They are unknown, and it’s their job to talk to people about themselves and about their books. It’s their job to tell the readers and customers why they should read our work and how our books can benefit them in some way. STOP SELLING AND START HELPING. That’s enough ranting on my end. We don’t do missed opportunities at my House, so let’s get down to business.
Here’s what you need to do to make people give a damn about what you have to say.
- Put away your phone. This is first on the list because we live in a world that is full of distraction. Being on your phone while customers are walking by your booth/business/table is unprofessional and rude. It shows that you care more about what’s going on in the virtual world rather than in the real one. It also sends a message that they aren’t important enough for you to put your phone down for.
- Smile and say hello. Imagine that! So easy and so simple yet 80% of people at tradeshows, retail environments, and behind booths don’t do this.
- Engage with people. Ask them about themselves. Be genuinely interested in what they have to say. Don’t pitch your products or services right away that drives me insane more than anything. If you’re just jumping into your spiel of, “This is what we do,” blah blah blah, then you may as well just get to the point and say, “Give me your money.” It’s so offputting, and so is faking interest in people and interrupting them. If you care about your customers and readers, they’ll know it, and they’ll care about you too.
I know that this list seems ridiculously simple, but I wouldn’t have to post about it if it wasn’t true. Get your head out of your ass and take care of your customers and potential customers. The life of your business depends on it.