Sitting in your booth you can feel like you are watching the world go by, but the point is that some of the world should be diverting to engage with you and your trade show display. How do you encourage this behavior and avoid the staring between booth staff and attendees as they file by looking at your exhibit like it is just another display at the zoo?
For starters, get up off your butt! You shouldn’t be sitting down when you are trying to work the crowd and drum up some interest and business. The only time people should be sitting down is when they are talking business; make sure your people have good footwear for the day because they will be on their feet (when they are eating or taking a break, have this done out of sight).
The “meet and greet” is essential – you need people who have the confidence to say hello, smile at the prospects and are equipped with good openers, such as “Hi, what are you looking for here today?”, “Hi, we’re XYZ, Inc and our business is Widgets. Which company are you with and what do you do?”; or “My name is Chad and I handle marketing for XYZ, Inc. Who do you work for and what are you looking to get out of the trade show?”.
This works well when visitors come into your booth, but you should also be proactive and break down the perceived barriers between attendees and your booth staff. Encourage booth staff to get out into the crowd and off the booth stand itself. Treat the traffic areas running in front or around the booth as no-man’s land which is yours for the taking; booth staff should be actively patrolling this area looking for prospective attendees to engage with and bring them into the booth rather than simply hoping attendees will do so of their own free will.
Remember – be proactive, be confident, ask open questions and don’t sit down!