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Tips and confessions of a Frankfurt virgin

I spent a whole week at Frankfurt this year – a whole week selling, networking, schmoozing, wining and dining. Most of the time I was among veterans. Those who know the fair, who know how to work it and who go again and again to boost business and catch up with colleagues.

Could they tell I was a novice? I think on day 1 I might have given myself away. I had that look of wonder in my eyes – scouting around the building; looking in amazement at the sheer enormity of the building. I was glued to my colleagues’ sides; fearful that if I ever left I might never find the stand again.

What tips can I share? Well, visiting new customers on their stand several times seemed to work well. The first time to assess what they need and the second time to take them something they’re interested in. They’ll appreciate your efforts and remember you well.

Once you’re home, get on Linked in and connect with those new contacts. Again, when they get bombarded with post-Frankfurt emails, your name will stick out just that little bit more.  

And finally, don’t forget to spend time with old colleagues too. Those people you really got on with, those wise people who will inspire you to keep going, again and again and again…

So what do I need to confess? Well, I had LOADS of sleep every night and ate the WHOLE box of chocolates left in my room and wore the killer HEELS (see previous post), but that’s not all…in rights sales your schedule consists of back-to-back 30 minute meetings. It’s not much time to identify needs, show any new material and create an impact. Quite an intense task, so I figured it would help to break it up with a game.

To explain the game briefly – basically, you leave your stand (only if you have a break of course) and wander totally aimlessly with no agenda until you’re completely disorientated. You come across the most amazing stands full of books you wouldn’t normally see and bump into all types of people you wouldn’t usually meet. Totally inspirational! You do that for about 20 minutes. That leaves you with 10 minutes to find your way back to your stand. It’s tough trying to find it again (or is that just my poor sense of direction?) but it’s worth it and when you finally get back you’re revved up, rejuvenated and raring to go again…

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Laura Summers

Laura Summers

Co-founder of @bookmachine - the network for forward-thinking #publishing folks; and BookMachine Works - the fresh new creative agency for publishers

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