I just got back from the All Baby & Child Expo in Louisville, KY. This is the big show for the baby products industry. Thousands of vendors, thousands of buyers, millions of square feet of showroom space.
This was the first time the show had been anywhere other than Las Vegas. Louisville was a big risk. A little harder to get there for those flying. Not the same level of entertainment options. Not the same international cache. Add in the not-quite-stellar economy and the buzz was...
Would there be good attendance?
Apparently not. I lost count how many times I had to listen to vendors complain how the lack of attendees was hurting their business and it was all the fault of the board of directors choosing this location.
Fortunately, I also heard from a fair number of vendors who were having an awesome show, meeting new people, opening new accounts, writing serious orders. It wasn't Vegas, but it was business, and they were doing it.
The difference? Attitude.
At one point, after listening to a lengthy rant about the show location and poor turnout, I looked at the person across the table and said rather indignantly, "I'm here and I'm writing an order. I don't care about all that other crap."
The point is that you can complain about the lack of customers for your business or you can embrace the customers that do show up. Complaining will not drive a single extra person through the doors. In fact, it will drive the few customers you have away. But if you focus on the positives of having a customer in front of you, she will bring you more business.
That is true at both trade shows and retail stores. We like to do business with happy, friendly people. Period. Keep your complaints to yourself.
When the attendance/traffic is not there, you have to maximize the business you do with the customers you have. You do that by being positive and upbeat. You do that by being friendly and helpful. You do that by making sure you focus on the customer in front of you. Make her feel special and welcome. Transfer confidence to her that your since your attitude is good, your business must be good, too.
Yeah, Retail 101. Amazing this past weekend how many people did not get it.
PS Is it any wonder that the people with the best attitude were having the best show? Your attitude is everything. You set the tone for your employees and your business. Make sure you put your best foot forward every day.