What’s the Cost of Just Passing Out the Goodies?

Shows in the food industry are just great! At a recent show, I spent two days eating my way to 3 new and unexpected pounds. Samples, samples everywhere! More amazing was that in wandering the aisles, it was obvious that gathering qualified leads was not on most exhibitors’ minds. Of the myriad of exhibitors pushing their offerings at attendees as they strolled the aisles, only a few made the effort to ask any attendee about business.

Only on occasion, and mostly in small company exhibits, was I asked, “How do you like the product?” or “Would you like to sample another flavor?” Even more rare were questions like, “Are you here buying?” “Where are your stores?” ” Do you sell this kind of product?” “Are your customers asking for organic foods?” While most of the larger companies seemed to just be handing out samples, a few smaller organizations seemed more hungry to uncover real business opportunities.

Everybody was eating, but many companies came away with empty plates because they were not gathering their just desserts – qualified leads. Just a few simple questions could have helped many companies separate the samplers from the buyers, and could have turned the event into a much more fruitful exchange for both exhibitors and attendees. Sadly, the majority of exhibitors spent good money for the floor space, the samplings, the staff, etc., yet new opportunities went by them, literally fistfuls at a time.

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