Conversation Starters – How to engage and start conversation with show visitors

With the busy exhibition season upon us all too often exhibition staff don’t know how to engage attendees as they come down the aisle. They watch attendees walk by their exhibition display, afraid to approach them because they are unsure of what to say or fear bothering them.  While some attendees will stop, what about the ones that don’t?  You’re there to meet with attendees, so you need to get the conversation starters rolling.

 

Firstly, recognise that no one wants to interrupt stand staff on their phone or huddled together chatting with one another.  They will think you’re too busy to talk with them and continue on down the aisle.  Be present and make yourself available so visitors will feel welcome. Adopt a relaxed stance, smile and yes, by all means, step out into the aisle.

Next, you need to know what you’re going to say to kick off the conversation.  “Hi there, can I help you with something?” or “Enjoying the show?” are uninspiring at best.  The most predictable response is likely to be “no thanks, I’m just looking.”  End of conversation.  You need more engaging conversation starters, to get them involved immediately.

 

The best openers are often to offer something – a free sample, the opportunity to participate in an activity, or win a prize.  Formulate open ended questions that cannot be answered with a simply yes or no.  Think of questions that use who, what, where, when and how vs questions that use are, can, do, have, or will.  For example, “If you win the iPad we’re giving away today, who would you give it to?”  Start off the conversation focusing on them, rather than the other way around.  Your opener should get them thinking, and regardless of what the answer is, it should draw them into a conversation about their needs, provide an opportunity for you to explain what you do, and determine whether you can help them.

It’s important, of course, not to get discouraged.  No matter how great your openers are, not every person that walks by has a need for your product or service.  Keep in mind that if you’re friendly, approachable, and have a great conversation starter, your chances of generating more leads will be greatly increased.