Tradeshow and Exhibit Thoughtleaders
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Tim Patterson's  Articles

Starting a Conversation with Booth Visitors

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Questions are powerful. Asking the right questions in the right situation can open doors to more business, to gathering critical information and to getting someone interested in your product or service.

At a tradeshow, questions are your superpower. Itís a busy, chaotic environment and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other exhibitors and booths competing for your visitorís attention. What are you doing to differentiate yourself from the competition?

Youíre asking powerful questions

Given the situation that time is of the essence, unfortunately you canít necessarily spend a lot of time with rapport-building questions. A typical sales call may allow you time to ask about how their business is going, what theyíre doing this weekend, and to get into details of their companyís short and long-term goals.

But you can ask impactful questions that get people thinking.

Ask about Goals and Objectives: What are you hoping to accomplish in the next 6 to 12 months? The next 2 Ė 5 years? Or ask about a specific project: what does this particular project mean to the company?

Ask about Problems and Challenges: Whatís missing in your challenge to reach Goal A? Is there anything in particular thatís holding you back? What solutions are you considering?

Ask questions that position your company: If you were to work with us, what are you hoping will be different from what youíre currently doing? What does success look like for you in this project, or in how we work together?

A few simple questions will make it clear that you should pursue the situation further, or not. Depending on the circumstances, it may be appropriate to sit down at a private table and hash out all of the details, or it may mean setting up an appointment to follow up.

Asking open-ended questions lets the visitor respond with as much information as they like. Asking too many questions, though, makes you sound like an automaton. In other words, donítí overdo it. Sometimes the right response is simply to say ďTell me moreĒ or ďHow so?Ē

Just keep in mind that on the tradeshow floor your goal is to qualify and disqualify visitors quickly. Donít waste time with a non-prospect and donít spend an inordinate amount of time with a prospect. Make sure you have a proper and agreed-upon follow up sequence in place before he or she leaves the booth.

©2015 by Tom Patterson