Sex, Drugs, & Rock-n-Roll at Trade Shows

Here's the Scenario...

You're at a trade show. Out of town. It's probably an unfamiliar city. Maybe an exotic locale. Lots of strangers. There's a client or two. A couple of buddies. Lots of opportunities to do business. Lots of opportunities to get yourself in a bind.

Here's how to stay out of trouble, save your dignity and keep your job.

Trade shows are hard work - both physically and emotionally. It's tiring to travel. Hard to be away from home. Boring to be pleasant and smile for hours. And, a blow to the ego when people ignore you, don't respond to your comments, look the other way when passing your booth, or just say "no" to your offer.

There's pressure to produce. Talk with prospects. Entertain clients. Look for partners. Scout out the competition. Get the business. And, increasingly because of technology you're never out of contact but have to keep up with your "real" job at the same time. So, it's easy to fall into the traps of your normal stress reducers - the inter-relationships of sex, drugs & rock-n-roll.

The Lectures and the Tips...

I call these behaviors - Things your mother taught you not to do, but since you're away and you think nobody knows you, you can get away with them. Sorry, somebody does know. And that's you.

Sex - Ah, how nice it is to be loved. Or at least enjoyed for a short period. The temptations and availability of anonymous sex are high when you're away plus there's the chance to have a rendezvous with a co-worker, client or other business acquaintance. Magic moments fizzle fast when the sun comes up. Remember, your life is longer than the trade show.

Drugs - Does your company have a policy that allows you to buy, sell, and use illegal drugs? Doubt it. You are on company time from the moment you leave your home until you return. Not only do you endanger your career and industry reputation, you run the risk of breaking US and foreign laws. Jail? Not a nice experience. Note that the U.S. Embassy cannot bail you out if you break foreign laws.

Are you traveling with legitimate prescription drugs? Keep them with you in the original bottles with the pharmacist's labels, keep a written copy of the prescription details in another location (in case you lose the vials and need refills). And most importantly, don't double up doses because you feel ill or uncomfortable. Check with your physician before you leave in case you have a minor emergency. This is especially true if you have allergies, a heart condition or use mood levelers. For example doubling tranquilizers may calm you to the point of stupor.

Rock-n-Roll - Hey, it's Party Time. Free beer. Free booze. Lots of great food. Music to rock by. Business is on a roll. You're king of the hill and queen for a day, you're entertaining and being entertained. What a life!

With some clients and in some cultures, you're expected to indulge in Party Time behavior. Drink a lot. It's OK to get drunk. Cozy up to the hostesses. Let your hair down and have a good time. Party hardy. Here's a secret - You can still be pleasant, have a good time, and stay sober.

Why be a prude when party opportunities abound? Because you're smart. You know alcohol loosens lips. Your hosts are now willing to brag about their business - details on the newest product, personnel shifts, corporate goals, and insider gossip. If you're sloshed, you won't remember. If you're drinking club soda with lime, you will.

Conversely, when you're drinking, you may trash your boss, reveal company secrets, ask the wrong person for a favor and be generally boastful and obnoxious. You'll be memorable for all the wrong reasons.

When sober, you're smarter because you're gathering critical market intelligence - information to get you ahead of your competition and be a leader in industry trends. Remember, at a trade show and all surrounding events, you are what people perceive as Your Company. How you act is how people view your firm.

The Solutions...

There are ways to avoid these traps. Here are perfectly legitimate excuses for not indulging in wayward behavior, but you have to make the rational decision to use them.

Think first of your health. Anything you knowingly do that endangers the health of you and your family is stupid, and hard to explain. Keep the wedding band on. Be polite and say no. The major VD's are still around, though treatable. But as global travel expands, new viruses and diseases are popping up and transmuting. Besides the emotional trauma associated with sexual escapades, the health risks are just not worth it.

Understand your corporate policies from using drugs to paying bribes to accepting gifts. What's standard at the office, applies away from the office. If you don't know your policies, ask before you go. Better be safe than sorry.

Examine your religious beliefs and laws. Adultery is a big sin in most religions. So are lying, cheating and stealing. We all want to do business with people who are trustworthy. It's your responsibility to demonstrate that.

Trust your gut. If you're uncomfortable in a situation, get out. Whether it's physical danger or an emotional jolt, your intuition is your best guide.

You can say "No, thanks." Because of health, corporate policy, beliefs and intuition. But the main reason is because you're a trustworthy person.

Julia O'Connor - Speaker, Author, Consultant - writes about practical aspects of trade shows. As president of Trade Show Training, inc,, now celebrating its 10th year, she works with companies in a variety of industries to improve their bottom line and marketing opportunities at trade shows.

Julia is an expert in the psychology of the trade show environment and uses this expertise in sales training and management seminars.

In The News:

Showroom Sales Manager  Pedestrian TV
Seven Reasons Why A Sales Manager Can Fail  Radio & Television Business Report
Prisoners of Our Own Experience  Business 2 Community
BMAT - UK Sales Manager (UK)  Music Business Worldwide
Business newsmakers  Sunbury Daily Item
Top 10 home sales of week  Jacksonville Daily Record
People in Business Feb. 16, 2020  Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier
How to Hold Your Salespeople Accountable  Radio & Television Business Report
Sales and “Product Led Growth”  Business 2 Community
Events Manager  Pedestrian TV
Telestream Selects A New Chief Sales Officer  Radio & Television Business Report

Stop Drowning: Nine Strategies For Managing Your Priorities

I just got off the phone with Susan. She is... Read More

How To Use A Powerful Leadership Tool To Step Up Sales Results

Good sales people can close, but few "step up" for... Read More

How to Maximize Account Penetration and Jump-Start Sales

Maximizing account penetration is one of the most critical functions... Read More

Sales Pipeline Forecasting Is There A Better Way?

To put it mildly most companies sales forecasting just isn't... Read More

All Small Businesses Need to Gather Community Intel

How well do you know your community? As business owners... Read More

The Effective Executive

What does it mean to be an "effective executive"? Well... Read More

Keeping Your Sales Team Motivated

Sales managers frequently approach me for advice on how to... Read More

Do You Know How to Fire Up Your Sales Staff (When Money Isnt Everything)?

Money is the only thing that motivates a salesperson, right?... Read More

The Nine Warning Signs that You Need a Sales Video

Corporate videos are an important sales tool that can often... Read More

Book of Lists Marketing for Pressure Washing Companies

The American Business Journals produces a Book of Lists each... Read More

SEZ WHO? Tips About Recommendations, Sales Cycles, and Trade Shows

Here's the scene. You're at the trade show, having a... Read More

Sales Competence Isn?t About Quota Performance!

Compounding the problem are two myths regarding measures of competency... Read More

Increase Retail Sales With Meetups

I recently attended the monthly Italian language Meetup here in... Read More

Is Your Forecast Too Sunny? How to Improve the Accuracy of Sales Forecasts

As spring moves to summer, the forecast should be for... Read More

3 Ways to Increase Your Sales

Last week I got a call from Jose, who was... Read More

The Hidden Competition: Avoiding the 2 Most Common Competitors

There are really only two types of competitor:1. Obvious2. HiddenThe... Read More

3 Secrets That Set The Context For Sales Success

In today's competitive environment, every organization is trying to improve... Read More

To Increase Your Sales and Revenue Make Sure To Add Value

What are you and your company's services and products worth... Read More

Snowflakes Improve Holiday Sales

Snowflakes are beautiful!For the Winter Holiday sales season handcrafted snowflakes... Read More

Transforming Your Sales Force by Creating Specific Expectations

I just finished a phone call with a potential client... Read More

Management From Within

Inspiration and Management from Within ? Part 2.The more you... Read More

3 Steps To Getting A Sales Meeting

The best way to get a new customer is to... Read More

Make Time, Not Excuses

There are four primary activities that successful salespeople engage in... Read More

How To Build A Worldwide Distributor Network

When your product is market ready and has a good... Read More

Sales Tactics to Beat Your Competition

This month I want to share a success from a... Read More