DEATH OF A travelling SALESMAN / by Bo Gerard

With the dawn of the digital age, comes the decline of a profession that helped build the mighty economy of this great country of ours.  The "Traveling Salesman".

A hardworking, enterprising individual, with a gift for connecting with people and gaining their trust, he traveled our great country, meeting and speaking with hundreds of thousands of prospective clients.  He was funny, charming, and determined.  First traveling by horse and carriage, and then every new conveyance available, he visited every corner of the nation, selling his wares to an unwary public.

The modern version of the traveling salesman is the Trade Show Magician.   He is likable, gregarious, and good at gaining his audiences trust.  He demonstrates his magical skill, while reinforcing the company’s message and branding with a boisterous and inviting pitch.  He is a throwback to the traveling snake oil salesman, wide-spread at the turn of the 20th century, though now he is selling legitimate products and services.

However, things have changed a bit.  150 years ago, the salesman was more well-traveled than his audience.  He brought a sense of exotic mystery to each little town he visited.  Now, things have flipped.  Today the audiences come to the trade show from all over the country, sometimes all over the world.  And if the host city is big enough, the client usually tries to hire a local performer for his booth.  The road weary audience is now traveling to the salesman.

What remains the same is that those of us who find we have the right personality to engage strangers and win their confidence, will always have work.  Now we’re just waiting for the "Traveling Audience" to come to us.