image1My two best scouts and I walked a combined 90,000 steps during our 48 hours at the Atlanta Gift Show at AmericasMart. Thousands of manufacturers display their wares for retail store buyers from around the country. We found lots of great stuff for my now-expanding TV segments, so the trip was a huge success for us.

But we left with a pet peeve: poor communication among too many company reps.

When we’d approach a booth, the vast majority would greet us by asking, “Do you already carry our line?” (A quick glance at our very prominent name tags would reveal that we’re labeled “media” not “buyers.”)

No, I’d say, we don’t have a store; we’re here scouting for my TV segments.

The response: “Oh. Well, opening orders are just $300 and we have lots of specials for new store accounts.”

In other words: they didn’t listen to our response and simply stuck to their rehearsed script.

image2Those who smartly asked about the TV segments made a farĀ better impression–and will reap the benefits of those good listening (and reacting) skills.

When we met jewelry designer Laura Grove, she won me over instantly: “You’re on ‘Good Morning America’ and I was once a guest on ‘Good Morning Maine.'” How cute is that? We laughed and then she presented her line. I won’t forget it–in a good way.

Scripts are very common in sales, but nothing replaces common sense. Don’t bury your head in staying on message that you lose sight of valuable conversation.