August 8th, 2014 | by

This post originally appeared on Jill Konrath’s website and is republished here with permission. 

Last year I spoke at Dreamforce with my client DiscoverOrg.com. (If you sell into the IT area, check them out). Over 130,000 Salesforce.com customers, developers and partners were there.

After our talk, I went to DiscoverOrg’s booth for a book signing. The exhibit hall was a zoo.

When all my books were gone, I spent time observing their salespeople in action. It was fascinating. They didn’t try to connect with everyone who was going past. Instead, they scanned the crowd and zeroed in on the suits.

But it wasn’t just any suit that caught their attention. They were specifically looking for men and women who weren’t carrying a bag or briefcase.

This was their “tell.” These serious professionals weren’t collecting any brochures or SWAG. Instead, they were people on a mission to visit very specific vendors.

With one question, the sales reps honed in on individuals in their target market: “Does your company sell to IT people?”

If the answer was yes, they initiated a conversation. If not, they wished the person well and let them go on their way.

Next time you’re at a trade show, think about this. What’s your “tell?”

It’s the best way to protect yourself from chatty trinket collectors who have absolutely no intention of ever buying from you.

Jill Konrath is the author of three bestselling books, AGILE SELLINGSNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies. She’s a frequent speaker at sales meetings and conferences. For more fresh sales strategies, download her free Prospecting Toolkit.

To learn more about Maximizing your Trade Show ROI, register for our upcoming webinar August 19th at 10:30 PT.

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About the author

Henry Schuck

Henry Schuck is the CEO of DiscoverOrg, a 7-time Fortune 5000 company, which he co-founded at the age of 23. He has extensive experience managing the sales and marketing activities of fast-growing information technology data companies.