I was reminded today of how long it takes to establish a relationship.
A colleague in Tucson, Fred Narcaroti, and I spent some time talking about how to build business. Fred pointed out that it takes a minimum of three contacts for a person to know you well enough to ask you about your business, let along award you business (a contract). When you apply this to trade shows and the world of face-to-face selling, you have to agree: a trade show is a step in the process of changing suspects into prospects and then into clients.
On the trade show floor, you most likely are meeting your contact for the first time. It could be the very first contact or could be the first face-to-face talk. It might could be the time you meet to close a deal. The point is, it is a step in a process. Whether it's three times, as Fred suggests, or 6 or 9 times, you have to make the connection on more than a "hi-how-are-you-can-I-sell-you-something" basis. As we've discussed earlier in this space, people do business with people who they like. And it akes time to get to know someone.
Lesson Learned: take the time to get to know your prospects and be patient.