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10. A place to sit at in your booth. At least you get to move around in the booth. Do you know how hard it is to just stand there and watch a demonstration? Stools would help. Comfortable chairs would be even better. Recliners? They would certainly get us in the booth! You might never get us out of it! 9. A print catalog with the date on it. I know, everything is on your Web site. Well, what do I do when I’m in the middle of an important research project (my niece really had to know what a coelacanth looked like) and Ms. Senior Partner needs to know the cost of …? 8. One representative per company. Because I am a consultant (independent law librarian), I deal with many different sales representatives from your company. Most are very nice, knowledgeable, etc. Some even go out of their way to help us and our clients. But I go nuts trying to remember who is who. Some companies have separate people for corporate, government, law firms, small law firms, and firms on the east side of the river except for the 14609 ZIP code. Then there are reps for online systems, for specialty publications. Not to mention the in-house reps, in-house reps who “work with your rep” and telemarketers (a whole other story). Enough already! At least give us a list, a Rolodex card or something so we can keep everyone straight. 7. More money for the reps to take us out to lunch. Hey, most of us need to eat anyway, and treats work. Just ask my dog. I’ll always remember the representative for the Rochester Business Journal. She not only brought us cookies, she brought treats for my pooch! 6. Remember we can’t be bribed. Notwithstanding the free lunches, the parties, the goodies and gifts, most of us will not order stuff just because we loved the pillow/poncho we got last year. However, these things are great promotional items. They are free advertising for you throughout the year. I don’t know how many times people have stopped me to ask about various giveaways. Every one of my clients has seen the Lexis briefcase I “earned” last year. My friends know I’m a trade show junkie. I’m a walking ad for the publishers (I try to be diplomatic: Lexis backpack with Westlaw water bottle) How about a phone number on them? 5. Don’t call before 9 a.m. Take the time to get to know your customers — individually. Do they prefer to be contacted by e-mail, fax, or phone? Do they want three copies of your newsletter? How often do they want to be contacted? By whom? Let them know when there is a change in representative, policy, whatever. I shouldn’t be finding out about new reps, new publications or new pricing from my clients. 4. Telemarketers who know what they are doing. Actually, most of us probably would like to do away with them altogether. But because we can’t, at least train them better. Most don’t understand anything about what they are selling. Simple concepts such as “new edition,” “updated,” “new publication” are beyond their comprehension. They don’t listen; they just go through their script without paying any attention to what we are saying. “I can’t accept anything on approval, but send me literature” sounds like Greek to them. Why are you selling something without having a brochure or flyer on it — something to send us? For goodness’ sake, you are publishers! Print something! 3. Keep up with the changes in the industry, law firms, our positions and us. It’s called building relationships. I was impressed last year with one of the vendors who had a database of contacts right at the booth. She showed me my entry and I helped her update the information. 2. Don’t ignore me when I come to your booth. Let’s face it; some of you are better than others at staffing a booth and at following up. Remember that you are not talking just to me, but to all my clients and all my contacts (yes, this means everyone else in AALL, SLA, AIIP, RPCN, BNI, NAWBO — call me if you don’t know what these stand for.) Anyway, get some training on pre-show preparation, staffing a booth and how to follow up. Follow up; 80 percent of leads are never pursued. Some publishers have not even sent me requested literature. 1. A job with your company. Doesn’t it seem that a lot of law librarians are getting hired by the vendors? To all those publishers who have hired them, thank you for allowing them to remain active in our professional organizations. Ruth Balkin is CEO of Balkin Library & Information Services in Rochester N.Y., specializing in research and consulting for law firms, and legal publishers and vendors.

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