The Four Types of Trade Show Stalkers

One of my very favorite blog posts of all time is by Scott Cytron: The Four Types of Trade Show Reps. For anyone who has had the pleasure of attending even half as many accounting conferences as me, it is clear that Scott is spot on. When I read this post a few years back, I immediately decided that if (when) I had my own blog, I would have to do my own take on this theme…so here it is, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Four Types of Tradeshow Stalkers.

Perhaps it’s the fact that I started on the conference scene at the ripe old age of 22, or maybe it was the fact that I’ve always been the one who just hates to miss out on any action, but it sure didn’t take long for me to discover that amid all of the amazing thought leaders, industry ISV partners, accounting press, and my practitioner friends is one more class of attendees: the stalkers. For those of you who know me, you’ll agree that I must have some type of stalker magnet and seem to attract what one colleague once referred to as “the best of the worst.” I’ve taken the liberty of categorizing these folks into four main groups.

The Family Guy

These poor guys barely get out of the house…but when they do, look out! Warning signs to watch for are strategically placed tan lines on the left ring finger, absence of any personal life discussions, and the combination of consistent yawning before 10pm (when they normally get to bed after the kiddos are down) & frequent unexplained trips away from a group when a cell phone rings “Sorry, I have to take this.” These are perhaps the most harmless of the stalkers, as they typically turn in early, but be careful friending them on Facebook; that woman in the photo might not be as friendly as her CPA husband.

The Internet Romeo

Another relatively harmless bunch may seem pretty normal in person, but save the good stuff for on-line follow up. These are the ones who get you to almost let your guard down at the show, before you quickly realize that they’re not merely interested in continuing the workflow conversation. True story: I once received an email that began “I normally don’t like Monday’s here in Utah, but last Monday started out quite well after our discussion about scanners…” My advice: Ladies, don’t be afraid of that block button – use it when necessary.

The Repeat Offender

These are the guys who have the determination of Olympic athletes. It’s not bad enough to be turned down once, but they insist on repeatedly returning for more rejection as if they are unable to grasp the concept of the word “no.” These guys, if left unattended, have the potential to become the most dangerous breed of tradeshow stalkers, The “Don’t You Dare get in that Elevator with Him.”

The “Don’t you Dare get in that Elevator with Him”

Laugh if you must, but I speak from experience. It’s amusing (but also a tad unnerving) when I guy gets into an elevator and attempts to push the highest floor before realizing his key isn’t coded for that level. I’ve been saved by hotel security a time or two. After that experience, I’ve learned to stall outside of elevator bays – one time until the wee hours before my phone finally buzzed and I was able to politely excuse myself “Sorry, I need to take this.”

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