What does your greeting really say?
“How ya doin’?”
If you’ve spent any time on a trade show floor, you’ve undoubtedly been welcomed with this timeworn greeting. Spend a lot of time, and you might lose track of how often you hear it.
Does it work?
To borrow an oft-used cliché, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. If you’re exhibiting at a show, your first interaction with booth visitors determines a lot. What impression do you make with “How ya doin’” (or something similarly non-original)? Is it really the best conversation-starter?
As many inventors have said, “There has to be a better way” – and there is.
The answer reads like something straight out of an Andrew Carnegie book. Take a personal interest in people. Encourage them to talk about themselves.
Who do you think a trade show attendee will remember best? Probably not the exhibitors who greeted them with something they’ve heard hundreds of times before. Maybe, though, the one who seemed genuinely interested in them.
Granted, icebreakers can be difficult. You want to be friendly but not overbearing. Here are a few to try:
- Glance quickly at a visitor’s nametag (DON’T stare). What state are they from? What company do they represent?
- Do they work from a branch office, what’s their territory? Do they travel often? Do they specialize in a certain product or service line?
- Take note of something personal about the visitor, and tie it into a greeting. If they’re carrying a heavy-looking bag: “Wow, that looks like a lot of stuff.” If they’re wearing a heavy coat: “Is it cold outside?” If their shirt has a logo: “Can you tell me about that company?”
- You’re all at the same show. What brought them there? Is it their first time attending? Have they seen any interesting presentations? What have they enjoyed most so far?
- And the most important idea – listen to them. Give them a few minutes to tell you a little about themselves or their company. Being a good listener will go a long way to gaining their confidence.
You see, people really aren’t that different. Everyone wants to feel validated, to know that others are interested in them. How you greet someone to your exhibit booth – that all-critical first impression – can make a huge difference in forging a relationship, or just waiting for the next person to come along.
It’s not difficult. A bit of effort and thought are involved. You might be surprised at the response, though. By ditching the “How ya doin’,” you could find yourself doing very well indeed.
Our employees here at Exhibit Systems have been around the block a few times, and are always happy to talk shop, discuss ideas and come up with solutions. Do you have a question about some aspect of the trade show industry, give us a quick call and we’ll listen… and give advice.
Be sure to check out our Trade Show Planning Checklist to help you plan your next trade show exhibit booth.