by Eli Logan Longview Texas
“Attendees spent an average of 9.1 hours visiting exhibits, per show, in 2012…a significant increase over the average reported in 2011.”
Exhibit Surveys Inc.’s annual Trade Show Trends report shows that attendees are spending more time shopping the show floor with the intent to buy. Since more and more buyers are spending time shopping on the exhibit floor, identifying and connecting with qualified attendees becomes crucial to maximizing your ROI.
Qualifying attendees is important and if you’re a one or two-person booth team, doing so quickly is a must. Below are some introductory questions that can help you separate the buyer from the visitor and increase the connections you make with potential customers:
What do you do?
This seems pretty elementary, but if it’s asked of a visitor, it has the potential to turn into a long-winded conversation. It can also be an opening for someone trying to sell you something to initiate their pitch. Here are some tips on how to maintain control of your time and disengage politely from booth visitors who do not represent customers:
When there is an appropriate break in conversation, initiate a hand shake and say, “You have been so gracious with your time; thank you for stopping by. Enjoy the remainder of the show.”
You can also reference increased activity in your booth: “I’ve enjoyed catching up with you, but it looks like my co-worker might need some help. Enjoy the rest of the show.”
If one of your customers shows up, tell your visitor: “It looks like my appointment is here. Thank you for stopping by; I enjoyed speaking with you.”
When it comes to the sales person from another company, remain professional: “Thank you for stopping by with this information; I’m sure it will be useful. Here’s my card. Let’s schedule a time after the show to discuss it.”
If the answer to this question means that the attendee represents a potential customer, continue with questions that can help you build your sales approach.
Who do you use to provide that product/ service/ etc?
Are you happy with the results?
Take notes so that when you’re following up with this potential client after the show is over, you can speak to their needs, further your rapport and build trust. Not only does qualifying customers help you use your time wisely at the show, it can make sure your approach after the show is specific and tailored to your potential customers’ needs.
Sources: Exhibit Surveys Inc.’s annual Trade Show Trends Report, Exhibitor Magazine Online, www.exhibitoronline.com, Friday Poll: How Do You Politely Disengage from a Long-winded Client? Radio Sales Cafe, www.radiosalescafe.com
PS-In an earlier post about how to make your freebies work for you, there was an idea on having potential customers fill out a survey to receive a giveaway. Since most attendees won’t trade too much time to receive a promotional item, use the questions above to compose a short survey. You get valuable information on how you can meet their needs and they don’t have to take too much time off of the show floor.