The London Business Show – the hard sell and flyers versus passion and conversations

On 24th November ’16 I attended the London Business Show at the London Olympia.

There are many stands, talks, workshops, keynote speakers but most of all, there are a lot of flyers.

Many of us business owners print flyers. They’re a good way to add a little more detail than a business card. However, when I walked in through the doors, I had 15 different flyers thrown into my hands and I had no idea what they were for. Whatsmore, I didn’t want to look. Somebody who has hired a random member of event staff purely to stand in my face throwing flyers at me, doesn’t cut it. I’m sorry. It makes me purposely put the flyer in my bag to be immediately recycled when I return home. That’s not how I buy new services. I can only assume that for some of the businesses using this flyering technique, it must work. Or perhaps it’s their first time trying what I have coined the ‘throwing business in your face’ method and they haven’t yet realised it’s costly and not very effective (to me at least).


The London Business Show - piles of flyers


I work virtually. I’m therefore always on the lookout for products that are genuinely good and help my productivity, my clients and add value to my life. However, the ‘throwing business in my face’ method does not work for me.

What really works is passion.

I witnessed a few talks where the speakers promoted their businesses and had the ‘big sell’ embedded in their talks.

Then there were a few, golden, talks where all that came across was pure passion. They talked about what they love, gave case studies, along with free tips and tricks to take away. Those were the winners.

Two great talks

One example was a talk I actually first heard at the Elite Business Show from Sammy Blindell who was also at the London Business Show and it was about How To Build A Brand. There was absolutely nothing mentioned to do with her services and costs. It was purely a talk about her passion and her background and it was engaging. The audience was left feeling enthused, energised and we were all asking questions at the end, “how do we get your services?”, “what dates do you run courses?”, “where do I sign up?”

Absolute VA is not endorsed by Sammy and is no way linked; she has no idea this is being written. Absolute VA doesn’t currently need this service and hasn’t budgeted for it this year, but when the time comes that Absolute VA needs Sammy’s support, Sammy is exactly where we will be going. Sammy’s planted her seed, she’s passionate, she’s trustworthy and look,  I’m now acting as a brand ambassador.

Another great talk and again, no affiliation here, was by Luke Sartain from LSG Creative. I hadn’t planned to go to this talk but walked past a room which was rammed and people were spilling out of the entrance, desperate to hear the talk. Luke was passionate, real (he openly said public talking wasn’t his thing) and full of advice for small and start-up businesses. He chucked valuable advice out to the audience, for free. We, as an audience, were captivated and when some of his business cards were being distributed around the room, people were scrambling for them. Not a leaflet in sight. Perhaps Luke had thought he wouldn’t be that popular or that he doesn’t believe in them. Either way, people were noting down his company any they’ll find him, without a leaflet, no problem.

Not a leaflet in your face

In summary, it’s meaningless leaflets that get thrown away (and can be detrimental to a brand, if they’re merely annoying potential customers). It’s passion for your own business that leads to igniting passion in business owners who are in need, which leads to conversations, which leads to sales. Not a leaflet in your face.