Are YOU Guilty Of This Fireable Offense?

todd schnickI was recently in New Orleans, broadcasting LIVE from a trade show. 20,000 attendees, over 1,000 exhibitors, the premier annual event in this particular industry.

And at one point, I walked by a company booth with three company reps sitting on chairs. Two guys staring at their smart phones, one guy reading the Times-Picayune.

Oblivious to the fact I was walking by and making EYE CONTACT with them.


20,000 people.

And these three guys are making ZERO effort to connect with any of them.

Contained in this mile-long convention hall are the decision-makers that are buying their products and services. Or at least collecting information to make the recommendations to the people that DO make the decisions…

And these guys were surfing the net and reading about football…



Are they lazy? Are they not ambitious? Are they not hungry? Are they scared of the hard work that will come with more sales? Are they just doing the bare minimum to maintain the status quo in their life? Do they not give a crap because it isn’t their company? Are they just gutless? Are they uninspired by their work? Are they bored?

[If they are bored, they need to find something else to do...]

There were ZERO prospects at their booth. So why did three men have to “cover” the exhibit? Why weren’t two of them out chasing opportunity? Or at least walking around learning something? In fact, the three men should be fighting to be the lucky two who get to walk around and ignite some kind of relationship with a new prospect.

Why are they sitting on their backside, letting the world pass them by? Why are they just killing the clock?

I don’t mind saying, but these kinds of people make me physically sick. What a waste.

If I was running the company that employed these guys sitting on their butt at a trade show that cost thousands to participate in, I’d fire their lazy butt in a heartbeat. Make them pay their own way home.

But what about you? What would you do? Does this kind of thing upset you? OR IS THIS YOU?

Ask yourself. Seriously. And if so, WAKE THE HECK UP!

Coming soon: An essay listing the other things you do (or don’t do) in sales and marketing…that are JUST LIKE sitting on your ass at a trade show…


CLICK HERE to wake the heck up, and do work that matters.

Drawing by Hugh.

  • Nick Baldwin

    I totally agree. I often look at sales staff in business that I frequent and despair at the lack of drive and customer service in them. Its helped me define my customer service standards but it has completely put me off of taking on staff in a conventional way.

  • Todd Schnick

    yes nick! it starts with partnering with the right person. the person who loves what they do, and actively seek engagement. and as you know, that ain’t easy…

  • David Farrell

    The only reason I ever got fired from a job was for doing my job to well.

    Blokes like these two numnuts you’re referring to? (And they’re everywhere). They get promoted.

  • Todd Schnick

    it is amazing that blokes like that still have their job…

  • Carolyn Edlund

    So true – see this all the time. All the money that is spent on the trade show booth, flying in, salaries, etc. and the staff is not making connections, or even responding. I blame it partly on management who should be training their staff how to do a show properly. The other part I blame on a society glued to their phones instead of living in the real world

  • Todd Schnick

    yeah, would be fun to do a trade show where the management is engaged, and the reps have no cell phones… methinks they’d get some intriguing new opportunities as a result…

  • Chris Downing

    Well the answer is higher up the chain. It’s their management. Did anyone actually work out what they wanted from the show? Did anyone tell thesse guys what they wanted them to do? I’ve workedd for plenty of really big brands and the brief was always go and sell some stuff and do …whatever… No plan, no understanding of how to meet and talk to people you’ve never met before, no understanding of how to build relationship with new people, no plan to measure how effective it was (numbers of contact addresses is hardly any sort of measurement of effectiveness). It is always assumed by management that everyone understands what do to and how to do it. And we have all been to exhibitions and see that very few know what to do or how to do it. The problem starts at the top – no training, no plan, no measurement.

  • Todd Schnick

    chris…no doubt. right on all points. i just want people to be empowered to realize this, and take action. i sure as heck don’t want to be a part of an organization that doesn’t do the things you suggested… it is ok to take some responsibility for your career, yes?