When you attend a trade show, you expect to run into wholesale distributors, retail buyers, members of the press, and other industry influencers—and you will. But, you’ll also run into these types of people who seem to turn up at every show:
As discouraging as it is, some people who you encounter at a trade show will pretend to be interested in your products or services, but the truth is they are only at the event to collect as many freebies as possible. To avoid giving away expensive freebies to this type of person, keep all of your cheaper items in the front of your booth, and hide your nicer freebies in the back.
The Friend Requester
Chances are you will also run into The Friend Requester, which is a person you have a brief conversation with, and then find they have sent you an invitation to connect on LinkedIn moments later. Don’t be turned off by this approach. Even if you didn’t think they were genuinely interested in your products during the conversation, you never know how connecting with them through social media will benefit you in the future. Keep in touch with this type of person, but don’t spend a lot of energy selling to them after the event unless they showed a true interest when you met them in person.
The Time Waster
If the trade show has seminars or conferences going on at the same time you’re exhibiting, you may run into a few Time Wasters while you stand at your booth. These people attend trade shows only to listen to the seminars, but they end up having downtime between sessions that they spend browsing the booths with no intention of buying anything or engaging in conversation.
All About the Numbers
Some distributors and retail buyers are incredibly focused on numbers, so they will visit your booth and ask you dozens of questions about price points and current sales. It may be frustrating—or even intimidating—to be around this type of person, but be patient and answer all of their questions. These people are not asking questions to annoy you—in fact, they are probably very serious customers who are simply trying to learn all the facts before making a decision.
The Ideal Customer
Of course, almost every trade show exhibitor will run into an ideal customer or two. These attendees will enter your booth and immediately make it clear they have a desire to purchase your product and want to learn more about what you have to offer. The Ideal Customer will ask for your promotional materials, review your numbers, and schedule a time for you to follow up with him or her after the event. It’s essential you pay a lot of attention to these attendees and follow up promptly after the event so you don’t lose his interest.
Have you ever run into any of these people at a trade show? Share your stories in the comments below!