What I Learned: Trade Show Edition

Three Days, thousands of greetings, and a lot of learnings.

Following the Tri-Municipal Expo last weekend where we were on our feet all day greeting people and trying our best to get the Volo Works name out to the masses, I had some time to reflect on a few things. Let’s just say my eyes were opened up to a few things…

Being a “weekend warrior” behind the keyboard of Volo and not being a face of the brand (Like Kim has been doing such a great job at) in our community as much as I should be has altered my perception of how the public sees us and has definitely altered my perception of how we should be received.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

Your 1000th time telling the story is their 1st time hearing it…

No matter how great the concept or how well it seems to be received by people you need to constantly be massaging, refining and re-delivering the message not just in a polished, rehearsed way but rather an enthusiastic and genuine way. Pretend you just thought of the idea yesterday. It may not be new to you, but it’s new to your audience. Blow their doors off like you used to blow your own off.

Not everyone will like what you have to say.

I consider myself a realist and while I fully expected that not everyone would be as thrilled to hear about  Volo Works as the last person was, they will at least respect the hustle and hear you out… They will not. They will think it’s stupid, they will think their time is spent better elsewhere. While I don’t believe in the former, I can’t say I disagree with the latter.

Don’t take it personally

“I’m not interested.”

Whoa…what? I haven’t said a word…is it my smile? My clothes? Is our booth ghetto?

None of the above. As much as it stings to have someone laugh at you when you try to talk to them or automatically dismiss you as soon as they walk near you…you can’t take it personally. We have no idea what is going on inside someone else’s head or what they are going through. The mother trying to round up and contain 3 kids, the father wishing he was watching Tiger win the Masters, or the person there just to enter draws and get free trinkets…we don’t know anything about them, and they know nothing about us. They have forgotten about you in 10 seconds. You should do the same.

You’ll know who your people are. You’ll just know.

Some people get it right away. Some are instantly attracted to the brand and just get it. Some people will run and tell their friends. Some people will sign up on the spot. These are your clientele. Treat them with respect and kindness, because these are your brand ambassadors. Your early adopters. These are your people.


Lastly, here are my favourite things I overheard on the weekend:


“I can’t believe this exists! What a great idea”

“You should be on Dragon’s Den.”

“You aren’t Google that’s for sure. Google is the best; I use it for everything.” (yeah who doesn’t? lol)

“Someone is going to offer you a lot of money for this someday.”

“I don’t want to leave my email; I get enough garbage in my email.” Ummm..thanks?

“Is this available everywhere or just local?” – we got that one a lot

“I need to show this to ______,”  (a local service provider or home-based business.)


Next trade show we go in I will try and apply these things I have learned. It only gets better from here.