Monday, August 23, 2004

I've got your exhibit right here...

So last weekend I had the thrill of having an exhibit for my company at a state sponsored physician's meeting. I do this every year, but this year the turnout was, well, embarrassing. Not only were there just a handful of doctors in attendance, but there were also only about 12 exhibitors. To put in perspective, I attended a national meeting for my company one year and there were hundreds of exhibitors. I may not live in the biggest state in the Union, but I was expecting a FEW more reps to be there! Goods news for the docs, though. It made their run through the gauntlet a little shorter on their way to the break table.

It's an interesting dynamic that goes on between the doctors and reps at these things. Here's what the smart doctors do. The others should really take a cue from these clever folks. The smart doctors actually make the rounds. Table to table. They end their short visit to your exhibit by thanking you for sponsoring the meeting and then moving onto the next table. If they're really good at it, they can achieve this during the first break, and then they're free to chat with their buddies guilt-free during the remaining breaks. Seems so easy, don't it? The other docs dodge warily through the exhibit hall avoiding eye contact with the reps. They dart back to the snack table, grab something, then turn to carefully scope the room for reps they might grace with their presence. Naturally, these are always the guys I can never see in their offices, plus, I am rarely one of the "chosen" ones. It's sort of poor form to approach them unless they actually get in speaking distance of your table. It's their own fault if they feel "on the spot" in the middle of the room. If only they'd take their cues from the smart docs, all that uncomfortable avoidance could be circumvented completely with a brief friendly visit right up front.

And then there's the total flip-side. I have one doctor whom I never call on, because she is so low on my priority list, that a visit really isn't warranted. But great news! I'm her new best friend! Maybe her only friend. This woman, I hate to say, embodies the stereotypical Jewish woman. She's like a caricature come to life. Last year at this same meeting this woman approached me, apparently with some interest in my products. Somehow the conversation quickly morphed into how much her life sucks because of her divorce. And on, and on, and on. So, I surmised, this woman is NUTS. Completely nuts. Who tells a complete stranger this stuff? Cuckoo.

Imagine my surprise THIS YEAR, that right after I was done telling another rep what a nut she was, she came up to me and started doing the SAME THING!!!! What?!?! Yes, life is STILL sucking due to her divorce. "Oh, sorry" I say. "Well, it's been awhile but it's just been so bad", she says. And then to top it all off, she tells me how she woke up this morning with a spilcich in her ganectagazoink. "Sounds like it's time for the chiropractor!" I say. I had a hard time not giggling while she was talking to me. I was having a brief fantasy of quickly feigning death on the spot. Just hittin' the ground like a sack 'o potatoes. My friends and I often joke about doing this in a real pinch. Once when I was visiting Chicago with my girlfriends, a "special" guy sat down next to my friend while we were on the "L" train and initiated a conversation. In her desperation to ease out of it, she attempted to include ME in the conversation. My immediate response was to feign death (coulda been sleep, too, I guess). She was all like, "bitch", under her breath. We still laugh about that. Anyway, I digress. So I got her to go away by agreeing to come to her office this week. Since I've been with the company almost five years, perhaps it's time anyway.

I'll be sure to leave a forwarding message & a trail of breadcrumbs when I go...just in case. Maybe some S.O.S. flares might not be a bad idea, either. Gulp...

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