Many of you are going to be at Am Open for the first time and we will get a chance to meet. I thought I would give you some hints on how to go up to me or any industry person at the tournament.
First of all you must understand that while you have a few gun manufacturers with easy to remember names, I have 10,000 customers so it's a hopeless situation to try and expect me to remember them.
The WORST thing you can say to an industry person is "Hi remember me?" You may have met me and we could have talked at length but the chances of me or Budd etc remembering that is near zero. This kind of approach just aggravates industry people and gets you cut off.
I DO want to talk to you so feel free to come right up. Make it EASY for me to have a conversation with you by telling me who you are, where you are from and how long you have been playing paintball. Then tell me if your an AO member and THEN tell me your nickname from the forum. DON'T come up and say "Hi I'm Mister44 from AO". Nothing will register until "AO" and I still won't have remembered your nick.
If we happen to meet a second time at the tourney, like if you bring a friend up, follow the same procedure. "Hi Tom I'm Bob from Chicago we talked yesterday in the tent and I wanted you to meet my friend Ted". Then if your really smooth you can say "yea Ted, Tom and I were talking about barrel lengths". Now I'm clued in and we can chat for a minute.
Let's say I'm standing there talking only with Budd what do you do? DON'T walk right up and barge into the conversation. Stand quietly about 10 feet away, face us and wait there until we get the idea you want to talk to us. We will signal you to come over when we are finished.
Don't hang around after the conversation lags. It is not unusual for me to talk to several hundred people in one afternoon so short and to the point works out best for everybody.
If industry people are sitting down at a table in the bar or hotel lobby that's NOT a good time to walk up. Sit downs usually mean it's important. I don't even walk up to Budd if he is sitting with someone else without doing the same "10 foot signal routine".
Players asking for signatures is rarer than you might think and we all get a big kick out of doing it. Signatures on anything is ALWAYS appropriate.
If you walk up with an Autococker or Angel you don't have to apologize for the gun you have. If you feel funny just say something nice about mags etc.
Don't come up to me and ask me about gun problems, fixing your gun, checking on your RA, price on parts kits or anything else that gets handled by my office. We have a huge tech staff there at the tourney and basically I don't have a clue about that kind stuff so you are going to get a short response. NEVER NEVER ask for free stuff unless it's something we give away regularly like stickers.
Don't call my office after the tournament and give them some story about "Tom said he will fix my gun personally tomorrow". If we talk and I tell you sure send in your gun we will take care of it for you, that does not mean I will do it myself. The number of people that try this is amazing.
The BEST thing you can do is walk up, do the intro thing and then tell me about how you just won a game with your AGD equipment, or how long you have had it and it still works great. It also GREAT if you tell me about how my staff helped you out, that helps me go get them pumped up when I give them that feedback. Whenever you name someone at the company in a post here on AO I paste that in an E-mail and send it to them.
So that's an outline of how to shmooze the industry people at a tournament. The Am Open is the best place to meet industry types so come on down and have fun. I'm going to post this in Fight Club too so it hangs around a while.