If you’ve ever worked in a retail setting, a good retail setting, you’ve probably learned how to engage customers appropriately. In grocery stores, you just say hi and do your job. In a boutique, you welcome your customers personally as they walk in and begin to feel them out: what are they looking for? Is this their first time in your shop? What can you help them find? That kind of engagement communicates a personal interest and a level of commitment that you don’t get in a grocery store. And that’s as it should be. The same is true of your trade show appearance.
If you let potential customers walk right past your booth, you’ve lost a potential sale, a long-term relationship, and future sales and contacts. It’s probably the biggest mistake trade show participants make. You’ve made the effort to put together a booth that attracts customers, your product may be the only lure they need, and you’ve staffed your booth with an energetic sales force. So don’t sit there and wait for them to come to you. Get engaged!
Being present in front of your booth is the first step. Having a booth design that grabs attention is the second. You want passers-by to gravitate toward you and your booth. And as they gravitate, you engage. The process flows easily from there. Talk about your product, sure, but ask them questions about themselves that might give you insight in how to present your product.
Once you’ve got their attention, have a plan geared toward either a sale or contact information. Either way, you have the potential for future sales. Keep the conversation focused on their needs, and how your product or service will fulfill those needs. It’s your job to guide them to a solution to a problem they have. Maybe they don’t even know they need your product, but your booth did the job of getting their attention, so all you have to do is keep them engaged long enough and with integrity until they realize they do want to have a relationship with your business, whether through a sale or a potential sale that you secure with their contact information.
Trade shows can seem more like speed dating, but if your booth grabs attention and your honesty and integrity keeps them in the booth, you’re engaged. Congratulations!