On the tradeshow floor, everything is important, but one of the most important is asking the right questions of your visitors.
I’ve been at three tradeshows in the past 5 weeks: two large expos (Expo West and NAB Show) and a smaller regional foodservice show.
In every show, I’m curious to see what questions are thrown out by booth staffers.
Frankly, I’m not impressed.
Yes, some good queries are pitched. But most initial questions or statements aren’t of much use to the exhibiting company.
“How are you today?”
“Would you like a free pen?”
“Still raining outside?”
(Looking at my badge) “What’s a TradeshowGuy?” (at least it got my attention)
“Have you been to this show before?”
None of those have much zing. Or pertinence to the situation.
How do you come up with good questions?
Let’s harken back to previous posts on this blog. To pose a good question, first understand what it is you’re trying to find out.
You’re there to sell a product or service, or to connect with distributors who will sell your products or services. Which means you want to know if the visitor even uses the product. Thanks to an interview we did with Richard Erschik, we know that the first question is often:
Do you currently use our product or a similar product?
After that, you’re trying to determine if the visitor is interested in purchasing that product in the near future:
Are you considering making a purchase soon? When?
Next, you’d like to know if the person you’re speaking to has decision-making power:
Who makes the decision? You? Or is there someone else that is involved?
And of course, you want to know if they have the capability to spend the money you charge for your service:
Do you have the money you’d need to invest in this product or service?
Many shows really aren’t trying to make sales on the spot. For example, the bigger expos are more about branding, launching new products and making connections with current clients, partners or distributors. In this case, what’s important is to get visitors to either sample your products (such as food), know about the new products, or in the case of other products such as electronic gear, cameras, software and more like we saw at NAB Show, to make sure that visitors were able to learn as much as they needed.
The company is paying good money – usually a lot of money – to exhibit at the show, which means that every visitor is critical. Ask good questions. Stay off the phone. Don’t eat in the booth. And don’t ask about the weather!