Working in your company’s trade show booth for the first time? If you’re like most new exhibit staffers, you probably have a lot of questions. Or, even if you aren’t new to trade shows, you may still be looking for easy ways to improve your on-site efforts… In this post, I will briefly answer three common questions about starting conversations with the attendees who walk past your booth.
First, what should you say?
Start by asking a question that tells the attendee what you do. When you share relevant information about yourself first (distinguishing your company from the other types of exhibitors present), you are giving your visitors a reason to feel comfortable introducing themselves to you.
Here are four ways you could phrase this initial question:
1. Are you looking for (product/service)?
2. Does your company ever need or use (type of offering)?
3. Are you doing anything with (segment of industry)?
4. Do you ever have trouble with (specific pain point for ideal clients)?
After you have asked this question and established a reason to continue talking, it can be very beneficial to ask the attendee more open ended questions. In doing this, you will have an opportunity to better understand your visitor’s situation and tailor your explanations accordingly.
Next, what should you do?
As each attendee approaches, simply smile and allow your short conversation to progress naturally.
Don’t stress about the specifics, but be sure to follow the “be a good booth staffer” tips you were trained with (for example, no eating or drinking, put your cell phone away, and make an appropriate amount of eye contact with each visitor).
For any actions you will take during each encounter, your main goal should be to help your visitors feel comfortable. Be especially respectful of any cultural norms (accepting business cards graciously, considering personal space, etc) and maintain a positive attitude. When you appear to be enjoying yourself, it will be easier for your audience to act in kind.
Finally, how can you maintain your confidence?
Trust in the fact that the attendees have paid to be there and, as such, they have a vested interest in something at this event (perhaps what you sell?). For this reason, most of the attendees you meet will genuinely appreciate your inquiry; although some will pretend they didn’t hear you and others will say no, very few of the professionals who walk by your booth will be terribly rude (and, for those who are, just shake it off because it couldn’t be about you – after all, you’re just trying to help – so their rudeness must be about them, which is none of your concern). For an exhibit staffer, like you, who is actively trying to interact with new attendees, even the worst that could happen truly shouldn’t be anything to worry about.
With these answers, hopefully you feel better prepared to start a conversation with any attendees who walk past your next trade show booth. However, you may be thinking that these few questions are just the beginning – if you really want to do a great job while exhibiting, you will need more information. To help you obtain this practical knowledge, I have created an interactive short course called How To: Quality Leads.