Better Ways To Engage Visitors At Your Trade Show Booth

If you’re a veteran marketer and trade show exhibitor, you may struggle to come up with new marketing, giveaway and tradeshow attraction ideas for each show. While these aspects are all key to attracting people to your booth and entertaining them, what you do with the time when you actually have someone in the booth is far more important.

Having a good engagement and prospecting strategy in place is critical to quickly vetting each booth visitor.

Using Trade Show Gifts As Relationship Builders29585613_s

When you give a trade show giveaway to a visitor, you have to stay focused. Your task is not to be a goodie dispenser, but to be an emissary for your company. The gifts should be part of your strategy as you engage potential clients.

Whether you choose to liberally pass out giveaways to every passerby, or whether you require some level of personal contact is up to you. But most marketers have adapted a multi-tier giveaway system so that everyone gets something small, and true prospects get something more valuable.

Quick Tips To Engage Visitors

The trouble booth staff often runs into is how to take a prospecting conversation from end to end, and how to more effectively engage visitors to get as much value out of the interaction as possible. Here are some quick tips you can implement immediately at your next show.

Data Collection. This is the most basic form of engagement at a trade show. The best advice here is to invest in technology. Even collecting business cards is considered a dated practice; asking a visitor to manually fill out a form shows a lack of respect for visitors’ time. Instead, use a handheld scanner to scan business cards or show badges, tablets or touch screens to capture data or instantly connect with new prospects on social media, or even smart phone apps created specifically for data collection.


Engage in a Conversation. While there are many techniques to build a rapport with visitors, starting a simple conversation is a priority. You might ask relevant question such as:

  • Are they currently a customer?
  • Do they buy similar products from another vendor at this time?
  • Have they ever heard of your company or used your product?
  • Do they have any concerns with their current vendor that might make them open to working with a new one?
  • Are they interested in a demonstration or in learning more about your product?

You may conclude after the first 2-3 questions that they are definitely not a prospect for what you have to offer, or you may mutually agree to contact them after the show for further discussions.

Ask for Referrals or Introductions. If the conversation is going well, don’t hesitate to ask for referrals to contacts and other companies, or even to contacts within their own company that may have a use for your product.

Share the Love on Social Media. Some marketers offer incentives by asking visitors to take a picture in front of the company booth and share it on their social media networks in exchange for a more valuable giveaway. While you can’t expect someone to go to this trouble for a stress ball, they might be more agreeable for a nice tablet stylus or a credit card pouch for smart phones.


About the author: William Hall is a seasoned business coach specializing in branding, social media and promotional events. William has spent his career teaching businesses of all sizes how to stand out in the crowd while using marketing dollars most effectively. His clients are continuously thankful for his out-of-the-box ideas that lead to increased revenue, more clicks and a bigger online presence.

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