Article written by Mary Buffa
Each attendee who sees your trade show display and visits your booth is a potential lead. But there’s no way to qualify that lead until you have a conversation. That being the case, it’s important you don’t squander the opportunity to engage every visitor.
Unfortunately, exhibitors often inadvertently drive attendees away.
Below, you’ll find attendees’ top 7 pet peeves.
At your next event, keep the following attendee grievances in mind.
#1 Booth Staffers Who Lack Expertise
Visitors expect your staff to be knowledgeable about your products and your services. They want answers to their questions concerning how your products might benefit them. If the employees you brought with you to the show are unable to answer those questions, your visitors will be unimpressed.
Before your event, train your booth staffers so that they are ready to represent your company. Practice asking questions that an attendee may ask and give ideas on how to engage attendees from the aisle. The more prepared your staffers are, the more credible you will appear to attendees and potential leads.
#2 an Overly-Aggressive Approach
Few people appreciate an aggressive sales approach. They want to have a conversation about their business needs, not be on the receiving end of a hard pitch.
Give visitors a few moments to look around your exhibit. Allow them time to check out your show displays, audio visual presentations, marketing materials or products on show etc. Watch for body language that indicates they’d like to speak with someone.
#3 Staffers Who Refuse to Make Eye Contact
Eye contact gives the impression that you notice the attendee and are available to help. It makes you more personable, trustworthy, and engaging. Attendees are looking to work with a company they like and trust. Make sure your staffers look your visitors in the eye when speaking with them. Whether they’re soft-pitching or generating leads, friendly eye contact will improve their results.
#4 Lack of Attention
Remember the last time you walked into a trade show display or even passed by with interest, only to be ignored? Unless you were desperate for whatever the company was selling, you probably turned around and walked away.
Understandably, lack of attention is a major turn off to show attendees. When they arrive at a booth, they expect to be greeted by someone from your company. They want the attention of someone who can answer their questions and communicate dependability. From the attendee’s perspective, exhibitors who ignore them while trying to drum up business will likely do the same once he or she becomes a customer.
#5 Incessant Focus on the Exhibitor’s Company
Have you ever attended a party and got stuck listening to someone talk incessantly about themselves? If so, you were probably looking for an opportunity to escape.
Trade show attendees behave in the same manner. When an exhibitor bombards them with a monologue about his or her company, ignoring their needs, their eyes glaze over. They start looking for a means of escape.
Remember, visitors want to have a conversation. They need to know whether your products or services are a good fit for their business needs, and want to discuss those needs with you. Take the focus off your company and direct it toward them. Ask questions about their needs instead of how you meet theirs.
#6 Staffers Who Beat Around the Bush
Attendees are impatient for a variety of reasons. Some have a lot of booths to visit and want to make sure they have enough time to do so. Others have been forced to attend the event by their bosses and don’t really want to be there. Others can’t wait to leave the convention hall to grab dinner and drinks with their friends.
That means you and your staffers must quickly get to the point. Remember to give the booth visitor time to look around, and when they’re ready to talk, immediately ask about their business and what they’re looking for. Put the focus on them. Once they’ve described their needs, explain how your products can help them.
No one ever lost business at a trade show by getting to the point.
#7 Not Being Given a “Next Step”
If a visitor is interested in your products, he or she will want to know what comes next. That doesn’t mean you should ask them to make a purchase decision. It just means you need to create a post-show expectation.
For example, suppose you’ve talked to an attendee and determined that he wants to know more about a particular product you sell. You’ve qualified him as a hot lead and collected his contact details. Before he leaves, tell him that someone from your sales department will contact him Monday afternoon. Set the expectation so he knows what comes next.
Trade show attendees have a lot of pet peeves, so make sure you’re not exhibiting any of them. Avoid the above list and you’ll stand a much better chance of productive conversations and better outcomes.
Train your booth staff and come prepared. You are there to serve and find potential business partners and clients.
About the Author:
Mary Buffa is Skyline Exhibits‘ Senior Account Executive, with 15 years of marketing and trade show experience. Mary is a passionate and talented business professional, actively networking and helping clients with their Southwestern Ontario trade show displays. She has been recognized and awarded for the Top Sales Excellence Award and is well known for her personable nature and professionalism.