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The Four Types of Trade Show Reps

I’ve told this story quite a few times over the last few months – always to be met with some great laughter, so I thought I would share it here.

I think there are four types of trade show people – not the attendees, but the company reps who work the shows to gain leads for business:

  1. The Go-Getters – this group is the one that excels, always thinking ahead to the next stop-by attendee and truly putting his or her best foot forward. The Go-Getter often is in front of the booth instead of behind a table or behind a kiosk, welcoming each and every attendee and talking to any potential leads as possible. These are the ones you want working your booth.
  2. The Italian Suit Guys – these are the Mr. Slicks – the guys who are more concerned with their appearance than they are with selling a product or service. They are always on their cell phones … combing their hair … and looking in the mirror to ensure they are all put together.
  3. The Sit-Down Laggards – how many times have you been to a trade show in which the reps are sitting down, totally unconcerned with booth traffic and just about anything else. They are unconcerned and usually checking e-mail, and are not the ones you want on your team. Yuck.
  4. The Logo Shirts – images of cheerleaders come to mind, although “energy” is not a bad thing; still, you do not want to be mowed over with corporate speak when it comes to trade show reps. These folk live and breathe the company mantra. OK – that’s not so bad either, but it’s often too deliberate and too in-your-face for my taste.

OK – now it’s your turn. Give me a some feedback and some stories on your favorite or unlikeable trade show reps.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. This is so dead on! I never realized the different categories until I walked the Sage trade show with Bill Kizer (king of the Go-Getters) who showed me what a real sales professional is like. It’s an eye opener to see the various types. Nice categorization.

  2. Love this, Scott – especially knowing we had each of the four types in our row that week at the AICPA Tech+ event…..I promise, I left my logo gear at home! 🙂

  3. Okay now what is ever so funny is that all of us “fit” into one of those four categories… Wayne, Kim,…. which one do you fit, go ahead and confess.

    But I do love this blog and I think it is so very true. Sadly, it is kind of like the traveling carnival, no matter what trade show you are attending and no matter what the audience demographic is for the show, the roadies are all the same.

  4. Your classification of trade show reps is great! But you overlooked one small additional type of rep that somehow sneaks into the exhibit area and is the most irritating. We will call them “The Business Card Collector”. These individuals usually operate with the same approach everytime:

    1. Approach your booth smiling, appearing to possibly be an attendee. (checking out – pretending to be interested in your products/services)
    2. Ask: “So how has this show been going? Are you getting a good response?”
    3. Regardless of your answer, they will ask “is there someone at your company that handles XYZ type of advertising?”
    4. After you provide them with the name or business card of the contact within your company, they make a few notes and wish you well…

    In the meanwhile, as this individual is wasting your time, you see one or two attendees (actual prospects that might otherwise have stopped to discuss business) pass by your booth without stopping, since are are engaged in conversation with someone already.

    Keep up the good work!
    Tony Amodeo
    Seattle, WA

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