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Trade Shows and Events: The Business of Relationships


The art of business is more than just a transaction between the business and the client. It is relational and it is personal. We had the privilege of being inspired by best-selling sports author and business speaker Ross Bernstein at our 2019 Skyline Dealers Meeting last month at our headquarters in Eagan, MN. He has written 50 sports books and used that sports lens to inspire and challenge our dealer network to look differently at how we do business. We wanted to share what we gleaned from Ross’ presentation so that you can go into your next trade show or event confident that you are succeeding in the art of business relationships.

The Reason Behind Your Why

It’s evident when people are passionate about their work. They don’t mind staying an hour late to make sure their trade show booth is perfect to the very last detail. It is evident that they are truly proud of what their company stands for. People want to do business with those who truly care about what they’re selling and about the clients they’re selling to. Learn about the people who visit your booth. Find out what it is that makes them tick. Maybe a product or service you have can help them solve a problem they have. By doing this, you can show them that you truly care about them, as well as the product or service you’re selling. When your client knows that you care about them as much as you care about what you’re selling, that is when the business relationship can truly begin.

Our challenge to you…What is the reason behind your why? Is it evident that you’re proud of the work you do? That will help you attract people to your booth and give you an opportunity to connect with those visiting so you can learn their why.

The Art of Giving

Have you heard the saying “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”? If you’re a part of any team, you would probably agree that this statement rings true. You have your own set of goals and your own agenda to get done in your trade show booth. You have a quota you’d like to reach, whether that is how much product you sell or how many leads you generate. But the second you step into that booth, you’re there for the clients who come with their own set of needs. Show the people visiting your booth that you’re more interested in learning about their needs than you are about selling your product or service. Be client-focused first, business-focused second. It’s also important to help support other people on your team. Ross said to be sure to give more assists than goals because that’s the type of teammate people want to staff a trade show booth with. And that’s the attitude that draws people into your booth as they walk by.

Our challenge to you…The best way to positively represent your company is to truly listen to the people who stop by your booth. Can you fill a need that they have? Be a strong link and give, give, give. Selflessness builds strong relationships

The Generational Complex

Every generation comes with its own set of preferences when it comes to doing business. The best strategy is to know your clients, both current and potential, and meet them where they’re at. Do they like technology? Make sure your booth has awesome gadgets that can help explain what you do. Is charity a big deal for them? Tell them about the money your company donates to help others. Are many of your clients bilingual? Make sure you have people in your booth that are too. It’s the little things that you create in your trade show booth that mean the most to those stopping by. When you understand their values and interests, you’re able to create a unique experience for them as they enter your booth.

Our challenge to you… Ross challenged us to leave a legacy so that is our challenge to you, too. Does your trade show booth reflect your clients’ interests and values? When it does, you can know you’re making a difference and building more meaningful relationships for your business.