Trade fairs…..arghghh.

  • The endless waiting and hoping for people to come onto your stand.
  • The thousands of dollars spent on the stand.
  • The money for the lights, staff, fancy signage etc etc.
  • The set up and bump out.
  • The headache that hits when you realise how many orders you have to process (or how few you got)


Been there and done that. I’ve been attending Trade Fairs in Australia and overseas for over 20 years, and it’s a mad format. For the retailer, it’s just as big a drama. Hour after hour walking up and down aisles, hoping you see that one amazing thing that will change your fortunes that year. If you’re at a trade fair in China, make that days and days walking football field after football field of stands, hoping to see something different.

Well, this year I got to experience something very very different. ECRM . If you haven’t heard of them, I suggest checking it out. It’s their 20th anniversary this year. It works like this. You set up your goods in a hotel room (a model I have tried with clients before), but it’s all organised by ECRM. They bring the retailers and distributers etc to the show and they choose who they want to see. You then have a series of 20 minute appointments with the buyers to do your thang. It’s like speed dating for products!!!! It’s so intense. We had 76 meeting overs 3 days, with dinners, drinks, and other events in-between. I couldn’t fault the organisation and structure….and to be honest if 1/8 of the work comes off, it will be a complete game changer for my client.


The biggest different was QUALIFICATION. Every person that came into that room, had said they wanted to look at their goods. So you weren’t spending your time with chumps that are just there for the free samples.

So why am I telling you this? Well, it really highlighted to me the importance of qualification. Otherwise known as your ideal client, client avatar, dream customer etc etc. How often do we carry on in business not really getting this?

We stick to our ego driven idea that we have something that everyone wants. Bullshit. The only thing everyone on this planet wants is water – and isn’t it a shame it’s sold for such a high price these days. Imagine how much easier it would be if you only spent time talking to qualified leads. That everyday, you took the time to make 3 phone calls, to people that actually wanted to buy, stock, distribute etc your product!!!! You’d soon stop chasing your tail and instead be chasing your accountant to get your figures up to date.

For me this has been an even more interesting exercise because it really highlighted how much I love the world of products. I like bright shiny objects, and brown paper packages and shops and trade fairs, and travel and watching the look on someones face when they see their product in store or online for the first time.

You need to know your client inside and out, top to bottom, good and bad.

Anyway, here are my 5 Top Tips for finding your dream client:-

  1. Who
  2. What
  3. Where
  4. How
  5. Why

Oops – I better explain them. Even better, here are some of the questions I get my clients to answer when we work on this. We usually spend a long time working on this, because it is so important. One of my favourite parts of working on this is the letter writing – but I don’t go into that here.

What are your first 10 thoughts about your ideal client?

Do they currently buy your types of products or services? If so, whose?

Where are they?

How many of them are there?

What is their average income?

What is their level of education?

What are their interests?

What is the family structure? Kids, married, single.

What do they do for entertainment?

What do they read?

What do they do for holidays?

Who has them before you?

What do they want?

What do they need?

What are their fears?

Where do they hang out? Online and offline.

Where would you find a list of your ideal clients?