How to sell at trade fairs

According to the Center for Exhibit Industry Research, the majority of trade show attendees are decision makers or influencers who expect to make a purchase within 12 months. Don't miss out on an opportunity like this, follow these recommendations to ensure your staff is prepared to sell effectively.

1. Avoid soft sales

Trade shows require aggressive selling. When attendees show interest in your stand, approach them immediately and invite them to learn more about your products or services. Don't keep people waiting, attention spans are very short at trade shows and people will leave your booth if they can't get help within 60 seconds or less.

2. Be friendly

The way you greet a visitor to your stand shows your professionalism and willingness to help. Avoid banal greetings such as "Can I help you?", "Hello, how are you?" or "How do you like the exhibition? Instead, ask a direct question that catches the visitor's eye and allows you to gauge his or her interest in your company's products or services: "What information can I give you about our new heating system?" or "Hello, what are you looking for in a patio door?"

3. Mind your manners

Certain behaviours on a stand make you look sloppy and make your customers think you are not interested. Don't sit around. Don't eat, drink or smoke at the stand. Never leave your stand unattended. Don't spend time talking to colleagues instead of focusing on customers.

4. Identify potential customers quickly

The first thing to do when you meet a new person is to determine who they are (buyer, decision-maker, supplier, competitor, etc.) and where they are located. This way, you won't spend valuable time with someone who is not responsible for buying your product or service, or who is located in an area that your company does not serve. You can find this information by asking key questions, looking at their badge, or asking for a business card with the person's title and address on it.

5. Ask lots of questions

Hook a potential customer by asking open-ended questions, questions that require more than a yes or no answer. This will help you determine their needs and interests. Focus your answers on how your product or service can meet their needs. Be sure to follow the 80/20 rule: listen 80% of the time and speak 20% of the time. Try to avoid any pre-prepared presentations that may start to sound recorded after you have given them about 50 times.

6. Keep good records

Write down all relevant information about a potential client on a card containing: the person's name, title, address, phone number, email address (this can all be taken from a business card), needs, interests, budget and timing. Use this sheet to follow up after the show when you return to the office.



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