This is a guest article by Todd Millet, known as Tradeshow Joe.
When was the last time you were managing a trade show booth with way more visitors than it would ever be possible to talk to at once? You probably already know how frustrating it can get. Even so, this is obviously a good situation for your business, and here is how to take full advantage.
Acknowledge every visitor.
No matter how busy you are, it is essential to say hello to everyone who stops at your booth. A simple, “Hi, I’ll be right with you,” will keep your visitors from feeling ignored and lost in the crowd. The reassurance will help give them the patience to wait for you to help them out. This concept is even practiced inside many large corporate retail stores within specific niches, such as pet stores or sporting goods stores. Even on Black Friday, employees are commonly instructed to acknowledge every shopper, even if they have to wait a moment to be helped. This is shown to increase conversions in retail, and to the same effect, it can increase conversions at the trade show!
Provide self-help resources.
People are curious by nature. If you can provide ways to appeal to their curiosities, they will spend their waiting time learning about your company. They may even have a question in mind and begin observing your booth in more detail while attempting to find the answer. Even visitors that leave before a conversation begins will learn something new about your business.
Determine interest level of time consuming visitors.
We are all too familiar with those booth visitors that just won’t leave you alone! It’s like they have an endless grab bag full of questions, many of which are pointless. Yet, we don’t want to be impolite. After all, it might result in a sale! This is exactly why it is important to interpret the intentions of these visitors. Are they actually interested in buying from you or helping your company in some way? Asking questions about their company can help accelerate this process. Sometimes, it is worth your efforts, but when it is not you should have a plan to divert them away so you can get back to focusing on the rest of the crowd. Have a business card ready to hand them and kindly wrap up the conversation, directing them to another resource for more information. In cases where the visitor might be a promising lead but they are still taking up entirely too much time, ask if they would like to meet at a later time or schedule a phone meeting after the show.
Try to get visitors into group discussions or demonstrations.
This mostly applies to new visitors that are still in the question phase and not yet ready to convert into leads. When you are overcrowded, getting group discussions going can be a very effective way to handle the situation. Everyone can learn about your company or products collectively. You will find that this approach is not much different than greeting a single visitor. The initial routine will be the same. Just get a little more wind in your lungs and speak up!
Use your booth staff wisely.
If you have more than one employee at the booth, having a specific focus for each staff member can make things much more efficient. When one person is taking an order, the other should be available to help the rest of the visitors. If some of the staff members come and go at your booth, make sure you have a direct, and instant, line of communication. If your booth gets crowded in a hurry, you can call for backup.
So, are you ready to face the crowd? Take a long breath, put on your armor, and pack a sandwich. It’s going to be a long day and the outcome is in your hands.
Todd Millett is a web marketer and content developer at Trade Show Joe (TradeShowJoe.com). He graduated from University of Louisville in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Communications. His interests also include music production, video production, blogging, and web development.