As I mentioned in my pre game report, ProCigar is a festival and not a trade show, Cigar Coop has covered trade shows for the past decade and focused on product coverage. ProCigar is a festival and I knew coming in it would be different. About 12 hours into my stay in the Dominican Republic, I hit a big realization….this event doesn’t have cigar sales reps in sales mode.
I have spent 20 years in technology sales and 31 years in the Information Technology space. I have been to my share of technology expos, trade shows, and user conferences. My customers have sometimes asked why there were salespeople (and me) at these events when many want to focus on technology. Yes, it makes sense if its a trade show, but for an expo and user conference it doesn’t.
When it comes to ProCigar, I get it. This is a festival put on by the leading Dominican cigar manufacturers, not the U.S. based distribution force. Yes, there were salespeople in attendance at ProCigars, but they are in a different mindset, they are here to further themselves as ambassadors for their companies, and not here to sell to customers. Some came to ProCigar on their company’s investment. Some came on their own dime. Either way, it enabled cigar salesforce attendees to be in learn and/or enjoy mode.
What I found most interesting was how the manufacturers were rolling their sleeves up and doing the heavy lifting. I saw Litto Gomez helping people load the bus. Nirka Reyes of De Los Reyes Cigars was attentive to detail making sure every one of the factory tour attendees had a great experience.
Day One for this author included a tour of De Los Reyes Cigars agricultural and manufacturing operations. I also had time for a sit down interview with De Los Reyes President Nirka Reyes. The eventing involved attending an opening gala event held at Pacque Central de Santiago. This gala had a Dominican feel and was highlighted by Dominican food and Dominican music.
Most importantly, ProCigar had a true feeling of a national cigar festival.
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop