Open-ended Questions for Trade Shows

4 Questions for Trade Shows

Easily start a conversation with trade show attendees using these open-ended questions for trade shows. Start by asking a question that tells the attendee what you do. When you share relevant information about yourself first, you are inviting your visitors to feel comfortable introducing themselves to you. Here are four ways you could phrase this initial question:

1. Are you looking for (your 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)?

These are yes/no questions, and the attendee has an easy out. Many attendees do not need or want what you do, however, some of the attendees are your target market, and you want to get to those qualified leads quickly. When they say yes, you can begin qualifying them, but in a conversational way. Ask the attendee open-ended questions. In doing this, you will have an opportunity to better understand your visitor’s situation and tailor your explanations accordingly.

How to Start a Conversation with Trade Show Attendees

Open-ended questions for trade shows give you ideas for good conversation starters that can speed up the process of qualifying the lead, and make sure you’re spending your time with the customers who matter most to you – those who are in the market for your services.

Before the show even starts, you and your booth staff should have a game plan in place that outlines goals for the show and how to achieve them. Your staff should spend time practicing important talking points, learning the benefits of the product/service, and reviewing how to qualify attendees. Knowing ahead of time what to do when the trade show floor opens is a crucial part of trade show preparedness.

Draw Them In

Smile, make eye contact, and make yourself available/approachable. A good way to engage with unfamiliar people and earn trust faster is to match their body language, and even the terminology they use. Beyond personal interaction, your trade show booth experience and displays should play a role by catching the eye and attention of attendees walking the aisles, and quickly piquing their interest. This makes them notice your booth amid the clutter of the trade show floor, giving you a chance to greet them or strike up a conversation. So, you must have good displays and good graphics behind you, both literally and figuratively!


Keep Qualified Leads Engaged in the Conversation

Smile, listen and allow the conversation to progress naturally. Don’t stress about the specifics, but be sure to follow the commandments of exhibiting, such as no eating or drinking, put your cell phone away, and make an appropriate amount of eye contact with each visitor. Help your visitors feel comfortable. When you appear to be enjoying yourself, it will be easier for your visitor to act in kind.

Your main goal with each encounter is not to give the hard sell. Yes, you read that correctly. You should have set some specific goals for the show beforehand, and one of them is certainly to identify and qualify potential new clients. If they want to make a purchase on the spot, great! But beginning a relationship with interested parties (i.e., qualified leads) is the real success. Just be sure to execute your plan to follow up with them, or you just wasted tons of time and money.


Attendees Have Skin in the Game, Too

Remember that the attendees have probably paid to attend the conference or, at bare minimum, have taken time from their work to be there, and they have a vested interest in gaining something from the event (perhaps your product/service?). Most of the attendees you meet will appreciate your inquiry; if they are not in the market for your product/service, they’ll probably just say so. This isn’t door-to-door cold calling, or intrusive telemarketing. Everyone in the building has something in common with everyone else. For a booth staffer like you, who is actively trying to interact with new attendees, even the worst that could happen (hearing “no thanks”) is nothing to worry about. Plus, you will likely learn something new about your industry.

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