On my way to Albuquerque to do some staff training and I’m thinking that this blog should be about something that’s often taken for granted and not giving must focus; what exactly is the objective for a conversation with a visitor to your booth?
I always assumed an exhibit staff knew why they were spending time with visitors but I am often proved wrong. Often, the conversation is almost totally driven by the staff person as they talk to the visitor about what they want to talk about. Or it could be the reverse and the conversation is dominated by the visitor. This might be a good conversation but it could also be that this visitor is a real time-waster; they just like to pontificate, demonstrate their vast knowledge, or they have have the buying potential of three-year old.There isn’t a lot of effort on a part of the staff person to keep the conversation focused on an objective that meets the needs of both participants.
As an exhibit staffer, meeting both your and the visitor’s objective should be your number one priority. Typical objectives include:
- Qualified lead generation
- An appointment
- Commitment to respond to an email or to take a phone call
- Commitment to attend a function, reception, seminar, etc.
- A sale (this still happens at a lot of shows)
So suppose that the number one objective is qualified lead generation. When the staff is focused on this, they have to understand the visitor’s needs, timeframes, issues, and preferred method of follow-up. These are the qualifiers for a good lead. And when the booth is really busy, how long does it take to get to this point? Usually only five or ten minutes. After that, they can politely dismiss the visitor and move on to qualify another visitors. Very efficient.
Without clear, time-dependent, achievable objectives, conversations can be completely open-ended at the mercy of whoever wants to keep talking – possibly wasting both person’s time.
There are always exceptions for this objective driven strategy; when your biggest customer wants 30 minutes of your time in your booth, that’s probably a good use of your time. But in general, keeping the focus on meeting some specific objectives for a trade show conversation will result in more and higher quality lead generation, better experiences for your visitors, and a more successful show.