Take me out to the Trade Show, take me home from the bar

Is it a coincidence that baseball season starts around the same time as the big trade shows? Probably. Actually I am not sure that fact is even remotely correct but at least I got a good idea for a headline for this weeks stunning blog :)

This weekend a few of my favorite people (and a bunch of other people that I pretend to know) will be congregating at a bar surrounded by a hotel to shake hands, kiss babies, ask for a dance and potentially close the deal. Selling is quite a bit like a mating ritual, plenty of people might have what your potential mate wants or needs so you need to show that your thing will make them happier and has less performance issues. But this week’s blog is not about pretending that I am not writing a bunch of dick jokes — it is about the dicks and dickesses that you come across at these slightly less sober versions of a key party.

One of my personal favorites is the contagious laugh person. There is a wonderful (and I am not saying this as I want him to buy from me, because he can’t) gentleman who I shall call Chris who has a laugh that has been registered with the CDC for it’s infectious nature (and with the EPA for noise pollution issues).

Then there is the cheap drunk, probably a tall guy from the West Coast who just ends up getting a little liquored and a little forgetful :)Actually he/she may not be a cheap drunk, just not necessarily a good drunk. The shows that I attend tend to have copious amounts of alcohol involved but usually pretty good behavior. I have only once needed to tell a couple of executives to ‘sit the fuck down’ before something silly happened between them and I am usually at the bar till it closes :) Of course with the amount of stress relief happening at shows there is bound to be the odd story, the odd rumor, and the odd short Italian thinking the room door was the bathroom door and ending up in the hallway in boxers and a t shirt and a serious need to relieve themselves — but there is no need to elaborate on that right now :)

There are so many stories to tell of late nights, bad decisions, of sore heads and wallets but who wants to hear all those sordid details. Lets look at why I actually look forward to some of these events as much as my liver and my slower brain cells don’t.

I have made some real friends in the industry that I “work” in through trade shows. Some of these people I think of as mentors, some as drinking buddies and some as legitimate life long friends. A fair amount of these friends are my competition but some are customers or customers to be. Now I can only offer my meager opinion on this but it may be because I write such an awesome blog, it might be because I tend to know my shit or it might just be because I am good people. Either way I do look forward to the chance to catch up over a cold libation, share a laugh, a story and maybe talk some business at some point. I am pretty easy to spot at the shows as I am usually one of the more casually dressed people (you can’t polish this turd) with a big dopey grin on my face and with my arm around someone (or later in the evening — something).

Trade shows are a necessary evil and you have to work them hard otherwise you might not see a return on the investment. Some may say I work them the wrong way as I am loudish and a bit sweary sometimes but that is who I am so let’s just say I am being “real”. I have only once been asked to ‘quieten down or leave’ when I was exhorting ‘The Cloud” with a friend who was involved with a well-known search engine. Ok, to clarify, I can only remember one time when that happened so there may have been others :) People who don’t attend trade shows can only guess at the antics that take place, and even though some of their guesses may be correct there is no way to truly understand how tough they can be. The brain and liver hurt at the end of these things are, well, “You don’t know man, you weren’t there”.

So having violated the primary rules of Sales Club (being that no one talks about Sales Club) I guess I need to hope that, as usual, no one reads this drivel and that people will still let me buy them drinks and dispense a few kiwi hugs. As usual the only thing killed in the writing (and reading) of this blog was a few brain cells. Any comparisons to any person living were most likely deliberate and if you think I am talking about you, well you are probably correct.

So work hard, play hard and earn your inspiration and don’t forget to expense your tab.

Happy Poets Day

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