What is the best way to find good prospects during a trade show?
It all begins on the exhibit floor. When a prospect arrives at your booth, don’t treat him like a side of beef ready to be cooked.
Instead, treat him like a human being. Your goal is to engage in a conversation with the prospect and determine his needs and interests. Remember, the prospect doesn’t care about your products, he only cares about his problems and how you can help him.
Some good opening questions are –
1). Why are you attending this trade show?
2). What do you hope to gain from attending this show?
3). Is there anything that catches your eye in our booth?
4). Can you tell me a little about what you do and some of the problems are you trying to solve at your company?
5). How is the show?
By asking some open-ended questions like the above, you can determine fairly quickly if you are dealing with a serious prospect, or just a sovereign hunter looking for swag. It also helps you create rapport.
Time is very critical at a show. You have to look at a trade show from the prospect’s point of view. There may be literary hundreds of booths for him to visit. He is spending most of his day walking from booth to booth listening to sales pitches and watching presentations. So you have to determine his needs and problems quickly, gain his interest, and most important of all, try to arrange a phone conference or meeting with him after the show. This is not the time to try to hard-sell the prospect. It is extremely rare that a prospect will make a buying decision on the spot. This is especially true if you are selling services or products with a long sales cycle.
As a general rule, the longer you speak to a prospect at a show, the better chance you will have to continue the conversation after the event. And if the prospect is asking you a lot of questions and showing interest, that’s definitely a good sign.
From your point of view, you will only work at your exhibit booth for two or three days max. On top of that, you will be taking some breaks or going to lunch. So you need to use your time wisely and try to engage with as many serious prospects as you can.
Finding good prospects at a trade show isn’t difficult. You just need to be patient, ask good qualifying questions, quickly establish rapport, and arrange an appointment after the show.