I didn’t think the halls at the Anaheim Convention Center could get busier and more crowded than the previous day here at the Natural Products Expo West, but I guess I’m wrong.
It was really busy, and my FitBit says I’m at about 23,000 steps as I write this around 8:30pm. So not only did I walk a lot, bump into a lot of people, ingest about a billion food samples, but my feet hurt like jiminy cricket. Or whatever expletive you want to insert.
The day started with a referral from a present client. This is what’s so great about having your company’s exhibits on display at such a big show. Someone will inevitably see a booth, inquire as to what company designed and built it, and voila, a connection is made. It doesn’t mean any business will come out of it, but at least, from a sales standpoint, you’re working with a warm lead. So I tracked down the other exhibitor and we had a good introductory conversation. Who knows where it will lead.
Which is how I approach the whole walking-the-show-floor bit. During a long and busy day, you end up standing in front of a booth and someone in the space will ask a question, which starts a conversation. What do you do? Where are you from? Questions lead to answers, which lead to more questions. I’ve learned to be patient, and be open. Since my natural inclination is to be mostly introverted, putting myself out there isn’t natural. It requires more focus and energy. But good things usually come from it. No expectations, no real agenda other than meeting people.
With such a big show, one must make a conscious choice to move from one hall to another, from one floor to another, from one building to another. Otherwise you just won’t see everything. And even when you do that, there’s no way in hell one person can engage with 3500 exhibitors in three or four days. Do the math: that’s about 1000 a day, and with the halls open 8 hours, that’s about 125 an hour, or one booth every 30 seconds. Ain’t gonna happen!
Since that’s the case, I spend a lot of time working to reconnect with people I’ve met in the past, so we can make a brief reacquaintance, which is always good for business. During this process, you find out changes: companies bought or sold, employees promoted or changing jobs, or leaving the company. That’s what makes the world go around: change. It’s what leads to new business. What worked a year ago may not work next year. Any business owner or salesperson should be prepared for those opportunities.
During the day I had opportunities to take photos of exhibits, exhibitors, mascots and get my photo taken. Lots got posted on social media – always fun to give a shoutout to exhibitors to make the whole thing more fun. Let me close the day with a few more photos!