How to Build Engagement with your Trade Show Display Guests

First and foremost, your trade show displays are an outreach and communication tool.  It’s great to get to show off all your new demos and products, but you can’t ever forget that the single most important goal of your trade show booth design ideas is to create interest in your company and find new leads to put into your sales database. 20x20 hybrid trade show booth with fabric graphics

Getting people into your trade show booths is only the first step in the process.  Unless they already have a reason to be interested in you (which is where a good pre-show campaign comes in) you’re going to need to engage them there on the floor, and that’s a tricky thing to do.  You likely only have a matter of seconds to grab their attention at all, then at best you can only hope to speak with them for a minute or two before they wander on.

So, here are a few tips on how to make your trade show displays and your staff as engaging as possible, to make the most of your brief time with each visitor.

Building Engagement Among Your Trade Show Display Guests

Make a good first impression.  Looks matter. “Dress for Success!” All of your staff should be wearing matching outfits any time they’re on duty in your trade show booths.  How formally they’re dressed will depend on the image you’re trying to project, but they should still match each other.  At least give them company polo shirts.  Having your crew look like a true team will go a long way towards establishing your authenticity.

Do practice runs beforehand.  Don’t go into the trade show dry.  Take your trade show booth staff and put them through a day of training and roleplaying for dealing with customers.  They shouldn’t have rigid scripts, but the goal should be for everyone to be able to answer common questions quickly and concisely – everyone should know the answers to common questions.hybrid island trade show display with conference room

Do some cold reading.  “Cold reading” is the art of deducing things about a person you’ve just met quickly.  (Sherlock Holmes is always depicted as a master of this.)  Don’t use the same canned responses on everyone. Try to always gauge visitors to your trade show displays and look for ways to build rapport and intimacy.   People virtually always respond more favorably to people they believe are like them.  Making educated guesses can give you conversational openings for establishing areas of common interest.

Use mirroring.  Mirroring is often employed when doing sales or cold reading.  Simply put, attempt to mirror each guests’posture and body language.  It seems silly at first, but it can be extremely effective in establishing rapport.  When chatting with visitors to your trade show displays, if they’re the “lean in and lightly touch your arm” type, do the same.  If they stand with their arms crossed, keep your space and act similarly.  It’s a remarkably effective technique.

Not everyone likes hovering.  Going back to our “hassle free” blog post, remember that some visitors to your display stands just want to be left alone, at least at first.  If they make a beeline for the product samples or info kiosks without doing more than making eye contact with you, back off and let them come to you for questions.  Respecting their space gets these guests on your side.

It’s pretty simple stuff.  The better rapport you build with your visitors, the more likely they are to convert into leads.  Trust is what truly builds sales. Learn to read the different kinds of guests your trade show booth receives and try to make your pitch to them on their terms.  That’s what will make you stand out when they’re trying to remember the show a few days later.

For more, learn how to make your displays pay off and about your display’s swag index.

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