Getting Past Hello

Getting Past “Hello!”

As the saying goes, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” Even with the sharpest looking booth and the most desirable promotional items, you still have to greet your prospects the right way.

Some things should go without saying… like making sure your team is groomed and dressed appropriately… they’re not talking to each other constantly (no one wants to interrupt a conversation)… they’re standing up as much as possible, not seated behind a table… and, heaven forbid, they’re not looking at their smartphones, making personal calls, texting or playing video games. Trade shows can make for long days, but your team should never come across as tired or bored. Their energy and excitement sets the tone for visitors who enter the booth.

But some other “first impressions” may not be quite as obvious. For example, when someone enters your booth, even if you have been trained to always use first names, don’t look at their name badge first. Make eye contact, smile, introduce yourself and shake hands. Watch your body language: don’t cross your arms or look over people’s shoulders. And start with a good opening line.

Now, here’s a commonly used greeting that can spell a quick death to a conversation – you’d be amazed at how often it’s used:

“Hi, can I help you?”

What if your prospect says no? Where do you go from there?

What makes for a good greeting? A sincere, friendly, open-ended question, one that requires the other person to say something besides “yes” or “no.” The goal, in terms of making a first impression, is simply to put the visitor at ease and start a conversation. For example:

“Hi, how are you enjoying the show so far?”
“What brings you to the show today?”
“How do you think the show is going?”

Note that all of these questions require more than a yes or no answer, and none of them puts the customer on the spot. In fact, none of these questions is even about you, your company or its products and services.

A simple, “How are you today?” or “Have you been outside lately? How hot is it?” requires some sort of thoughtful response. The point is simply to make each and every person who visits your booth feel welcome and unpressured. If you expect a busy exhibit or want to make sure each attendee is greeted and quickly transitioned to one of your team members, consider hiring a Brand Ambassador or Greeter to assist you in the exhibit. 

Once you’ve started a conversation, it’s time to qualify them as a potential lead. Your guest knows this. Now, it’s okay to look at their name badge and ask questions about their company, its mission, and what sorts of innovations they are looking for at the show. It’s even okay to ask some yes/no questions if you have to:

–       I am not familiar with XYZ Corporation, what do you do?
–       Are you familiar with our product/service/company?
–       Do you have 2 minutes for a quick demo of our product?

Remember it’s all about the visitor’s experience, so treat them with respect and get to know them a little bit. Everyone likes a warm, friendly greeting and it will pay off in better response for you and your company.

Consider Exhibitors Connection as your on-site marketing team.  We specialize in creating a team that will be a natural extension of your brand, your company and represent you in an outgoing, professional manner.  Let us know if we can provide you with the right team to help draw attendees into your event or exhibit space, 773.631.9465.

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