As a booth staffer, you’ve likely had to deal with attendees who are clearly not in the market for your products or services, yet enjoy standing in your booth making small talk.
It’s fine to make people comfortable at your exhibit, but the brutal truth is that you have a limited number of hours at the show. You can’t waste time on unqualified people no matter how nice they are. You have to make the most of those hours in order to achieve your goals. While the time waster is chatting you up about the hottest sports team, the qualified leads will move on to the next booth. Take comfort: You CAN be friendly and professional, while spending less time with the talkers and hangers-on.
A Tactful Escape
After you discover they are not in the market for your company, say something to the attendee that lets him know it while keeping the door open for future business. For instance, “I’m sorry that you don’t need our widget at the moment, but here is my business card if you would like to learn more about them sometime.” It’s a subtle way to close the conversation.
Body Language Speaks Loudly
Open body language would include a firm handshake, eye contact, and moving towards the attendee. These behaviors signal to them that you’re interested in the conversation. Conversely, body language indicating the end of a conversation would be turning your body away from them as you shake their hand and and say, “Nice meeting you.” Getting yourself and your promotional items ready for the next booth visitor would also let the attendee know you need to meet other people.
Cards for Everyone!
Although the attendee may be wasting your time discussing the weather or his plans for the evening, make sure he leaves with your business card. He may not be in the market for your product today, but he may be able to send business your way or let others know about your company, which could turn into future business.
Remember: When you’re manning a booth, you ARE your company. You mustn’t be the cause of any hurt feelings that would reflect poorly on you and the company. Be polite and positive in order to leave a great impression on your audience. Follow the golden rule and achieve your expo goals!