Yesterday I attended the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce Business Connection. It is an annual trade show that showcases local businesses. It’s a wonderful opportunity to network with other business owners and marketers.
Yesterday while at the event I ran into an old friend of mine that is currently developing wellness programs at a local gym. He and I were speaking about current events in health care and fitness ad well as catching up on personal matters. Out of no where an elderly woman approaches us in the middle of our conversation. She is armed with a clipboard adorned with adhesive ribbons supporting her cause and raffle tickets. She informed us of the cause she was promoting. Fine. She said our donations would enter us into a raffle where we could win a new vehicle. Fine. Then came “the close.” it was followed by total silence. I informed her that I was happy she was working for what appeared to be a good cause but that I would have to pass as I did not have any cash on me. She responded that she would meet me back at my booth in the afternoon to sell me a ticket. Seriously. Look, do we really need to “hard sell” our charities? I understand getting out and about to promote your charitable cause. I understand asking people for financial support. Here are my issues: 1) purchase a booth not just a ticket for admission 2) don’t interrupt two people in mid discussion to sell them something they don’t necessarily want or need 3) don’t offer to come sell someone after they have said no. The surest way to get people to not support your cause is to behave in this manner. Business is done at trade shows, I get that. That’s why we go. You should not “hard sell” someone who did not approach you. I am there to promote my company and connect with others I may do business with in the future. That is three minutes that I will not get back.
As for my friend and I, it was back to speaking with the potential customers. We have been looking for an opportunity to get together to discuss how our organizations might benefit each other for a while now. With our busy schedules it is hard for us to make that meeting happen. The meeting was ended abruptly just because someone else thought their message was more important than anything else going on. Too bad I guess. We will have to make it happen another time. And by the way, she never came back to sell me the raffle ticket. Definitely a loss fir all three parties.