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"how to schmooze a manufacturer at a trade show"
Old 16th June 2002
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Renie's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
"how to schmooze a manufacturer at a trade show"

Jules
You mentioned this on the try b4 you buy thread....it's been on my mind since. Would you be willing to elaborate??
thanks

Renie
Old 16th June 2002
  #2
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
What I was referring to is when there is no distribution of their product in your area / country.

You ask about the product, and staring at your shoes tell them what a drag it is getting anything where you are.. at this time - try to look like a family pet has just been put down. rollz You might then hear the manufacturer open up about how they have been perhaps 'let down' by a potential distributor...listen sympathetically ... this hopefully temporary disharmony in the manufacturers global network could be music to your ears... Be friendly, perhaps suggest cool distributors in your country you like and have good dealings with..

Then "go in for the kill" and ask if they would be willing to sell directly to you..

Really they should direct you to a retailer, but if they dont have one, you may be able to negotiate a direct sale.. And having some of their product in your country is better than...NONE!

Generally, at a trade show using friendly personality and keen interest, you can get offers of upgrades not publicly known about or even available..

But try to beware, life is a ''two way street', while you might not be the chief buyer for Sweetwater but you may be able to help them in some way however small. A 'take take take' attitude soon gets to be a drag and folks will see through you as a leech, just selfishly out for all they can get cheap.

If you like a product, be sure to drag chums over to the stand, introduce em the the boss or your key person at the stand.. This makes you in some small way an 'junior agent' for the product, one that could be rewarded in the future perhaps..

Think about what you can offer THEM.

More established manufacturers will have ALL their time occupied with meeting and greeting their existing retailers that there will be little scope for anything but a disinterested handshake and a quick "is this anyone I should know about?" glance at your name tag.

You also have to be prepared for a "no answer"!

Work the room!

Old 17th June 2002
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Renie's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Ahh right..that might be a bit hard to wangle then being a London resident..
Try to look like a dead pet?, ..I thought: well that's going too far surely...
then I realised I'd misread ya..yuktyy
Good tips though if I can find another angle of approach...

Thanks
Renie

Old 19th June 2002
  #4
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
When exhibiting at a trade show, nobody really likes to pack up their gear and ship it back to their facility... most often they'll give their 'favored dealers' first shot at picking up 'show demo' stock at a wonderfully reduced price... and after that then "normal folks" can often wangle a good discount on show demo stock.

The key is to not be annoying... have a good laugh and maybe a drink with the booth staff [staffing a trade show booth is fun for about the first 3 hours... after that it starts to get about as thrilling as a root canal]. There is always one person who is the 'head of the booth'... that's the person on which to focus... though you can often identify the 'second in command'. Most of the time they can bring a 'show deal' to the 'head of the booth'...

It's just another politcal dance, hope I described it fairly clearly. It's definitely a learned skill that is slowly aquired over time. Practice by talking them out of **** like T-shirts [pretty much every exhibitor has them but they only give them out to 'favored clients'].

Best of luck...
Old 14th January 2008 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Addict
 
UnDeFiNeD's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I tried this with the new Rhodes...I failed...
....damn u Alicia Keys!!

Old 14th January 2008 | Show parent
  #6
jhg
Lives for gear
 
jhg's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Buy/bring them drinks or coffee or food other than the terrible, overpriced stuff at most convention centers.
Old 14th January 2008 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
DeathMonkey's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher ➑️
When exhibiting at a trade show, nobody really likes to pack up their gear and ship it back to their facility... most often they'll give their 'favored dealers' first shot at picking up 'show demo' stock at a wonderfully reduced price... and after that then "normal folks" can often wangle a good discount on show demo stock.
Best of luck...
God, I miss living in Nashville during the NAMM shows.

I can only present my own strategery for scoring demo gear. It helps if you actually like the product, and have good knowledge about it as well - owning something of theirs is also a help. Most of the smaller company gear people are fans like us, and genuinely like to help people make music, and often need exposure more than big companies. They are the ones most likely to want to see their stuff in the hands of an enthusiastic user, IMHO.

"Boy, is that the new X? I have the Y you guys make, and I love it, I use it all the time. That thing it does is great. Everyone who comes into my studio raves about it. A couple of my friends have gotten Ys after recording with me. They know me as being a bit of a Y fanboy at Gearslutz. The X looks great, tho, wish I could get my hands on one... I have some clients and friends who would go NUTS over this baby..."

A lot of them can smell a schoomzer a mile away, and they do talk amongst themselves about people who go from booth to booth trying to score stuff or get "endorsement deals", but even if they don't offer the goods, they do like it when people dig their stuff heh

I agree with the "one hand washes the other". I always look for an angle where getting my grubby hands on something would benefit THEM - exposure, reviews, etc. There are companies that have been nice to me at NAMM years ago that I still champion, because I believe in their product. Like many of us do, I post clips, discuss these products on message boards, use them in a commercial setting, or play out with them... it's an honest "endorsement" of the product. It's the stuff I use, and I'm vocal about it. But you have to be genuinely enthusiastic about the stuff, IMHO, and have the integrity not to jump ship if a guy the next booth over gives you a deal as well, or slag the product a week later.

As with anything, it's about relationships. I've gotten quite a bit of stuff at NAMM over the years (lived in Nashville for 8 years), and I still have most of it - or I at least still purchase stuff from those companies. Brand loyalty is important to me, as is integrity - none of those companies were ones I didn't already rave about, none of them were companies I hadn't bought stuff from at retail. If you're honestly trying to build a relationship with a company - or strengthen one - I think that's the best policy: here's how helping ME helps YOU, and here's my track record of loving your stuff.
Old 14th January 2008
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Tibbon's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Maybe I naturally do this well. At AES several vendors offered me things for pretty damn good deals without me asking them first. Too bad I was flying to Italy a few hours after AES or I'd have taken them up on some of the offers.
Old 15th January 2008 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeathMonkey ➑️
God, I miss living in Nashville during the NAMM shows.
If Im not mistaken, arent they coming back to Nashville this summer?
If so,....see you there.
Old 15th January 2008 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Wes Kuhnley's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I'll give the good word to Dan on anyone who gets me drunk at "Potluck Con" this year...just a little food for thought.
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