8 Trade Show Booth Conversation Starters


Trade show Tips from Danny Orleans

Lesson 3 – Conversation Starters for Trade Show Booth Staff

What the most common communiqué between two strangers on the trade show floor? Nope, it’s not the handshake – and it’s not the phrases, "Can I help you?" or "How are you?"

 It’s THE NOD.

Picture this: You’re in a trade show booth and you make eye contact with an attendee walking down the aisle. He nods at you; you nod at him; he keeps walking. Result? Another unqualified passer-by. Another unscanned badge. Another lead lost. It happens dozens of times each minute in every aisle of every trade show.

What can booth staff say to stop people in their tracks, engage them in a short conversation, and qualify them? Starting conversations with strangers is incredibly challenging. But that’s exactly what booth staff has to do in order to be successful at a trade show.

Here are 8 sentences that work (more often than not) to make trade show attendees talk to you. Call them Conversation Starters. Call them Trade Show Pick-up Lines. Whatever! The fact is, the more people you engage at a trade show, the more leads you’ll get. Good "Conversation Starters" are complimentary, intellectually challenging, ego-boosting, immediately gratifying, humorous, or touch on an attendees' desire to win free stuff.

Which line fits your personality?                                          ​                    

1.      Did you get your free…? (offer the giveaway item from your booth)

2.      You’re from ABC Company! Do you know…? (Name someone who works there.)

3.      Jason (read person’s name from their badge), enter our contest for a free Ipad?

4.      Mark, (use person’s name) we were just talking about you wondering where you were! (This can be quite funny, especially if you don’t know the person!)

5.      Great shoes! (Compliment any clothing or jewelry they are wearing.)

6.      Check out our booth signage and see if you can describe what we do. (Challenge)

7.      Can you guess how many pennies are in the jar to win the prize? (Challenge/desire for free stuff)

8.      Pittsburgh? Go Steelers! (Name their city by reading their badge and their sports team)

Don’t be dissuaded if the first few people that you try to engage ignore you -- or smile and walk on by. Exhibiting at a trade show is a numbers game. The more people you speak to, the more leads you’ll get. Accept the fact that some people will reject your attempt to engage them and rejoice in each qualifying conversation you have.

Remember, it’s better to engage some of the people some of the times, than just stand there and… NOD. So, before your next trade show, arm yourself with some "Trade Show Pick-up Lines" and get those conversations started.


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