August 2, 2010

Tales From The Booth – The Girl Rating System at the Trade Show

Category: Tales From The Booth — admin @ 3:11 pm

At one major trade show that was being held at the Javits Center in New York City we had a problem.  The set up went well, and the morning the trade show was to open a major snow storm hit New York City.  All the transportation, buses, trains, planes and especially cars could not even move.

When the Trade Show opened that morning, there were more exhibitors then attendees. Even those exhibitors who wanted to leave could not even venture out of the building, because the snow was coming down so bad.  There were a few trade show “diehards’ that had shown up very early to get their badges, so they would not have to wait in any lines, and were there, walking the show. After three hours we had about four people come down our aisle.  Since I was taught to improvise, I thought what could we do to generate some activity in our vicinity, down our aisle, and hopefully they will also stop at our booth. 

There were more then few women coming into the show. It just so happened that there was also a women’s trade show in another section of the Javits Center, and since they had nothing to do either they decided to see what was happening at the electronic trade show. 

I decided that if we were going to have more women then men we should make it interesting. I went to every exhibitor that was located in our aisle, and asked if they would like to participate as judges of the most attractive woman of the hour that comes down our aisle.  All they had to do was to make up cards with large numbers from 5 to 10 on each card. It was obvious that to many of the people standing booth duty this was the most excitement they had done in a long time.
What we would do, unbeknownst to the woman as she got to the end of the aisle, I would clap my hands and the people in the booths would hold up their signs with their number rating on them.  One of the other exhibitors would quickly add up the numbers, divided by the number of exhibitors that were participating, and come up with a final number.  I would then stop the woman, and say, “Congratulations you have been rated very high, as one of the most attractive woman that has come down Aisle 1102, this hour. At the end of the hour we will have a winner so please stop back again” The prize was a give away from one of the exhibiting companies in the aisle. At first the women didn’t know what to say, but when they turned and saw over 40 men holding up cards with numbers on them, they started to smile. We kept this up for the next few hours, and the traffic was building up in the aisle. Attendees were telling other attendees what was happening in aisle 1102, and people were coming over to see it all unfold.  It was obvious that we had most of the activity and traffic down our isle then any of the other isles in the trade show.  After a while, some of the other exhibitors started to complain. Finally the Trade Show Manager come over, and gave us an ultimatum. “Stop the beauty contest activity, or leave the show”. We had no choice but to stop our line of judges. The following day we had more women come over to our booth and ask when the beauty contest was going to start again. 

What was interesting was that a number of the exhibitors in our isle also got some sales leads out of the effort. It just proved one thing. When you are in sales, especially at a trade show, you have to be resourceful.

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