Working a trade show is a mental exercise in itself – but if you can see it as a form of free entertainment then even the slow times can be filled with fun. With that in mind, here are The Top 10 IT Booth Personalities for you to meet on your next event.
Swag Hearder – You can tell someone isn’t up for a conversation when they don’t even make eye contact or even look at the display or brochures. This beast is on a mission, two empty bags in tow, to collect everything that isn’t bolted down to the cement. Holding a handful of “Free at VistaPrint” cards with no real contact info, this collector will make several passes in your booth faking ever increasing levels of interest in “whatever it is you do that sounds interesting”.. hey, can I have that pen?
BO Man – You can smell this one coming from miles away. Literally. Cause nothing gives more street cred to an IT guy stereotype like not taking a shower since Microsoft launched Windows 95. This specimen commands space and attention like no other – perhaps because you want him away from your booth as fast as possible but also because his scent makes other attendees stand a few feet behind him in a semicircle. And just as the vinegar spiced aroma is about to knock you off your feet he starts to talk, revealing nothing but contempt for toothpaste and love of vinegar. I give up man, take anything you want just gtfo!
Sales Guy – Straight out of Toby Keith’s I’m as good once as I ever was this former copier/toner salesman doesn’t need a booth to sell, he just needs to establish rapport and get the contact information of people that are real movers and shakers in your business – cause he has the idea, the connections, the business and well.. he sold ice to the Eskimo once and he sure can sell anything to your boss. Oh, and btw, can you validate parking or do you know how to get some free drinks around here?
Antisocial Genius – Nothing screams “I hate being away from my monitors” like trying to read a trade show booth display from 30’ out. After they have sufficiently analyzed what you do, and no other attendee got shanked in the meantime, they cautiously approach your booth like a Zebra about to be eaten by a crocodile in a National Geographic movie. With the sound fidelity and volume of a broken 1980’s Walkman they gently ask how the whole thing works, mostly to see if you’re a booth babe or someone that may actually answer a technical question they have. As they get more comfortable the conversation turns into an MCSE exam.
Parallel Universe IT – This beast made it’s millions in car wash or appliance rental enterprises and bought the IT business looking to be the next IBM. He is here, with his henchmen/investors, to see how badly you want to be a part of the next mega MSP to shock the world and scale out. Because an IT business isn’t really that much different than a vending machine, it’s all about volume/turnover and we know how to build scale! Not really interested in buying a product or a service as much as they are looking for enthusiasm for figuring out the missing pieces in their otherwise brilliant scheme.
Broke Millionaire – “Fake it till you make it” to the core this dude opens up the conversation about how awesome he is. Don’t let the Folex blind you as you try to figure out if this is an actor doing research for his role or an actual schizophreniac – just play the game of numbers and watch them change every time you ask how many users, companies and endpoints they have along with how many they expect to have a year out. This one guy IT enterprise, in a vendor branded polo giveaway, may be managing 10,000 seats right now but they are on pace for quarter million next year!
Up Close and Personal – These dudes mean to seal the deal by any means necessary and if you’re uncomfortable with a conversation 5” from your face how are you going to handle the abuse you get during a sit? Huh? Huh? Nothing spells meaning the business like leaning in for these guys, your only hope is that they aren’t a relative of the BO man or spilling their drink on you as they tell you about their big plans.
Professor and Historian – This guy was in IT before the electricity. Remembers the good old days and takes you on a journey in time, Knows everything there is to know about IT except the past few years, those aren’t on the radar at all – but it reminds him of this one company he knew out of Texas that…
One Man Theater – You may think you’re at a trade show to introduce a product or a service, but to a one man theater you’re just a captive audience forced to listen to a soliloquy of just how poorly this person perceives your product/service/industry. With an endless stream of “oh one more quick question” this bastard will suck up your peak traffic time with an incoherent stream of questions that make you wish you were a Benihana chef about to chop their business card into thousand pieces and light it on fire because the conversation is killing what you’re actually there to do!
The Squatter – Who doesn’t enjoy long walks on the beach and conversations about the weather? You know you’re dealing with the squatter when you’re in your booth fantasizing about ordering Taser swag just so you can kick these @#% out of your booth. The squatter has no objective other than taking up your time and small talk – with the conversation that goes nowhere. It’s like being forced to stand there and watch the worst sitcom ever made.
Life is all about little pleasures you get from people who don’t mean business – but act it 200% – but produce an eventful show and ability to draw a crowd. Let’s face it, without these characters it’s just standing in uncomfortable shoes on cement, have some fun with it.