I’m Sorry But…Who Are You?

Monday, October 18, 2010 @ 09:10 AM
posted by mrscaz

Well I’m back from a whirlwind Vegas trip. The ABC Kids Expo, the largest trade show for the juvenile industry, was disappointing and a success. How does that happen? Well, direct sales weren’t great. But if you compare us to other exhibitors, we did quite well. We took some orders from new stores, some from existing stores. The best part was being able to show our new products in the line. The reception was amazing! And the contact with our existing stores was invaluable.

When we go to these things, we are inevitably approached by everyone; manufacturers, packaging suppliers, PR agents, magazines, bloggers, exporters, and that’s not even the half of it. It is overwhelming looking at the stack of business cards handed to us. Where do I start? By far, the biggest dilemma is trying to figure out who is worth my time. I don’t mean to sound snobbish, but seriously some of these people had no business being at the trade show. There were a lot of people running around collecting as many free samples as possible. They had no interest in buying Dapper Snappers to sell in their store, if they even had a store, they just wanted a free one because everyone is handing out free stuff.

The most disturbing thing I witnessed was the self-ascribed “experts” and the tendency to expect me to gush at their presence. There is this ever growing trend to brand oneself as an expert or founder of something. Here’s the problem; these people aren’t experts. They have no real experience beyond their limited exposure to their chosen profession. I’ve been burnt by these “experts” before. They make all sorts of claims, hand out plenty of free advice, and then charge to belong to their private club or get personal coaching. But when it all boils down there is no answer except the one you find for yourself.

Another off-putting encounter was with those who were famous in their own minds. Call me celebrity dumb, but unless you are Hugh Laurie, chances are I don’t have a clue. And if you believe yourself to be that important, then I don’t want to know you. I actually had someone realize that I wasn’t sure who they were so they handed me their card while saying “Well, let’s see what you say when you see this”. Completely underwhelmed… I could see their badge. I was aware of who they were before they whipped out their card. I was not impressed. I’m sorry, but I refuse to fall all over anyone. Well, unless you are Hugh Laurie.

I am more apt to be in awe of the humble. Those that share their wealth of knowledge without expectation of compensation, those that challenge my perception of success without a self-righteous attitude, those that cheer on the small business underdogs; they are the people I respect. To the rest I say, “I’m sorry but…Who are you?”

Common Cents Mama signature

6 Responses to “I’m Sorry But…Who Are You?”

  1. Sometimes people get too big for their britches, so its a good thing that there are folks out there like you who are not afraid to tell it like it is.

    It sounds like you had a successful time at ABC though, and that is great. Congratulations!
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  2. Ashley says:

    You live up to your own definition of success. You are a champion for small business owners…especially women. Thank you for sharing your stories and experiences with me. My only regret was not hitting the dance floor with you crazy kids. :)

    Have a good week.

  3. Starrzone says:

    “I am more apt to be in awe of the humble”. This is so true, and what I go by as well. I’m not an entrepreneur, and have never been to a trade show, but I have been in situations at work where people have presented themselves to me, all high and mighty, and expect me to instantly recognize who they are. On the other end of things, I have also encountered people who I instantly recognize as being quite successful, but who are as graceful and understated as can be. I think that in business, you have to balance being self-assured with being humble at the same time; too much of one or the other, and you’re not going to succeed.
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  4. Brandy says:

    I AGREE! I had the exact same experience at the ABC – being a retailer I was overwhelmed with the choices and AMAZED at the attitudes of some.

    You were awesome! We are glad we found you and definitely will be placing an order! :)

  5. I’m sorry I missed your booth– I’d have been pleased to meet someone who finds the politics at these shows to be as silly as I do. :) And I’m quite shocked that the exhibitors have to put up with people trying to sell them something. We as the retailers are overwhelmed (or underwhelmed?) at the people who assault us as we walk by, not taking our “No, that product doesn’t fit in our store,” as a good answer. You would think they would only want to spend time with potential buyers and respect that we know our customers and have a good handle on what we want for our stores!
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  6. Chelle,

    What a great post! You summed up so much and so well written.

    Thanks for writing!