How hungry are we really?

Last month we posed the question in relation to businesses exhibiting at a trade show:
How many of the 6 businesses were hungry enough for my business to follow up after the show ?

The answer: There were no cigars this month.
No respondent came up with the right answer, but consolation prizes are on the way to Greg Goldfinch (Colliers), Mike Marinkovich (Action) and Michael O'Brien (Barfoot & Thompson) - who were all close.

The answer was that ONE exhibitor came back with a price list, followed up with 2 phone calls and several emails, and now has made an appointment for a sales call. And this exhibitor is based in the South Island.

As to the other 5 Auckland based exhibitors, their silence is somewhat deafening. Obviously they have never heard of a recession. They must be totally run off their feet with business, so much so they don't have the time to even be courteous. So what do we conclude from this, and what implications are there for our industry? When you choose to exhibit at a trade show you must acknowledge that there will be a lot of tire kickers. That's just the way it is. And a big part of the job is differentiating the serious enquiries from the rest. That's not very different from real estate. Doubtless all enquiries are serious. But some enquirers know what they need, where they need it, and have thought out how they will pay for it. Others are engaged in interplanetary travel in their minds.

If we choose to be part of the industry, or to exhibit at a trade show, then we have taken on the burden of at the very least showing courtesy to every potential customer.

From a very practical perspective, until we qualify the customer, how do we know they are not the source of our next paycheck?

My first reaction was obviously to break out the champagne. The recession is over! No-one needs my business - least of all the 2 exhibitors who are ( or were ) existing suppliers.

But reality is that times are still challenging, and ,as one of the prizewinners commented, "companies are only as good as the people they employ". When times are more difficult, surely it is a great opportunity to take a hard look at our individual sales skills and processes, and then upgrade where necessary. Obviously many companies exhibiting at Bizzone thought that showing up was enough. Too often the same philosophy is demonstrated in real estate - placing an advertisement is enough.

In neither case is it ever enough. There are many former agents now working in other industries who are proof that showing up is never enough. You have to do the job as well. And that involves thought, enterprise, energy and hard work.