Trade Show Conversation Starters to Engage Attendees

One of the most important things to get right at a trade show is engagement. Getting visitors talking about your products increases the chan...
Trade Show Shipping
December 2, 2019

One of the most important things to get right at a trade show is engagement. Getting visitors talking about your products increases the chance that you’ll be able to generate sales. It’s one of the main reasons why companies attend trade shows in the first place, but if it’s your first time setting up a booth then it can be daunting trying to engage everyone that walks past. This is why practising and learning some effective trade show conversation starters can be a huge boost.

Preparing a few conversation starters to use at a trade show ahead of time can increase the chances of positive engagement from attendees. Vendors should use trade show conversation starters that feel natural to them and fit their needs. 

Getting someone’s initial attention is only half the battle. Keeping someone engaged is the other half and is far more difficult, even for “social butterflies” that love talking to people. So what’s the right way to speak to someone at a trade show and how do you use trade show conversation starters to engage attendees? How do you familiarize yourself with engagement at a trade show and how do you find the right words to say?

A lot of it comes down to examining your surroundings and reading the room. If a trade show you’re attending is aimed towards a more casual demographic, then you can relax and get by with your everyday vocabulary. However, if the trade show will be attended by big-name investors, then you’ll want to dress and speak formally to kickstart more deals and boost engagement.

Once you get rolling, it’s easy to feel more comfortable in your conversations with attendees, but that doesn’t change the fact that sparking a conversation is hard. So to help you out, we’ve put together a few great examples of effective conversation starters that can hook your listener’s attention and get them talking about your products or services.

Listed below are 7 conversation starters that you can use at a trade show to engage attendees:

  1. Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials? Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

    Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials?
    Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

    What are you looking for while you’re here at the show?What are you looking for while you’re here at the show

Getting to know the attendees at the show and what they’re looking for can be a huge advantage in your favor. Someone’s response to this question has the potential to reveal a need or problem that your product or service can solve. With this information, you can pivot your pitch and start to discuss topics that could positively highlight your product. If someone provides a non-answer such as “I’m not sure. I really just came to look around,” you can transition to another conversation start below to further engage the person.

  1. Would you like to see how it works?

This is a great question that will ultimately lead to a demonstration of your product. Instead of being direct by saying “let me show you how it works”, many people will appreciate the polite and inviting approach. You obviously can’t use this if there’s no physical product to demonstrate, but it can be used for certain software applications and services if you have a demo that shows how a user would use it. If you can make this a working example then it’s a lot more authentic and can work wonders on a busy trade show floor. You need to plan your demonstration to be short and to the point so that you don’t lose their interest or lose out on other attendees that are walking by.

  1. Have you ever used _______ before?

Talking about a similar product is a great way to draw comparisons between your product and a competitor. However, this line can also be used to start a conversation about your product itself and what it’s about. If they’ve never heard or used it before, then it’s an excellent line that can lead to a demonstration of your product or service.

Additionally, if someone does have prior knowledge of your product or a similar product, it allows you to skip some basic introduction. This works in your favor and the attendees. You’ll be able to save time by not having to share basic information and the attendee will appreciate that you’re not telling them something they probably already know. 

  1. Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials? Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

    Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials?
    Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

    Do you want a free sample?Do you want a free sample

Most trade show vendors will offer samples to attendees if it’s a physical product. If it’s a service, then you could hand out a free trial period which could be effective if it’s a cloud-based service. The goal here is to let your attendees sample your products so you can get immediate feedback and potentially spark some curiosity from them. This can lead to longer conversations where you’ll have more chances to convince them that your product is worth consideration. 

For vendors that have a limited supply of free samples, this question is important. You don’t want to give out samples to people that you don’t feel have a chance of becoming customers. It’s a good idea to ask this question after having a positive and engaging conversation. If you feel that someone might be convinced to buy your product or service after experiencing it, then it’s a safe bet to provide them with a sample. 

Some vendors also bring free samples for all attendees and special extended or larger samples for people of their choosing. Vendors selectively choose attendees that have a high propensity to purchase their product to provide these special samples too.  

  1. Is ______ difficult for you?

If you’ve designed your product or service to solve a specific problem, then talking about it from the perspective of solving this problem is a great way to start the conversation. It leads to an opportunity to demonstrate what you’re selling and also the value it could offer to those customers. If they respond that it’s not difficult, then you could still follow up with a conversation that shows how it could be made more efficient or easier to manage.

For example, a vendor selling a product that organizes kitchen pantries might ask “Is keeping your kitchen organized difficult?” Many people are likely to answer yes to this which can spark an engaging conversation. 

  1. When was the last time you...?

This question can lead down several different paths. You could talk about the last time the attendee used a product similar to yours, or you could ask when the last time they encountered a specific problem was. Either way, it’s an opportunity to prove how your product is a better alternative to the one they used previously. If it’s been a long time since the individual has done whatever it is you’re asking, it’s likely that products have significantly improved since then. 

Vendors can also use this as a means to finding problems in how people use a product. For example, a vendor selling a tool that makes cleaning a gutter quicker and easier can ask attendees when they last cleaned their gutter? The vendor should follow up by asking follow up questions like “how long did it take?”, “did you have any problems?”, etc. The conversation should eventually steer towards highlighting the benefits of your product and how it will make the task easier and more pleasant next time. 

7. What is your current _____ missing that you wish it had?

Another good example of a conversation starter that can lead directly to your product. You could show how your product or service can fill in that missing need that the attendee is not currently receiving. Ideally, what the individual is currently missing can be offered by your product. If not, it can still spark a conversation for further discussion that can hopefully lead to you pitching your service.

It should be noted that this question shouldn’t be used as the first question in a conversation. Attendees are likely to be put off by a question like this without first engaging in a more friendly initial discussion.  

Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials? Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials?
Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

Trade Show Shipping With R+L Global Logistics

If you’re thinking of attending a trade show in the U.S, you’ll need to get comfortable with engaging attendees in order to see success. While R+L Global Logistics can’t help you practice your trade show conversation starters, we can ensure that everything else is taken care of. After all, talking about a product isn’t going to help if it never arrived on time at your booth.

R+L Global Logistics has been transporting trade show booths safely and efficiently for over 20 years. Our team of trade show transportation experts have the knowledge and experience to get the job done for you. We’ll deliver your materials safely and on-time, every time. Thanks to our owned and operated warehouses and additional in-house resources, we’ll likely be able to offer a significant cost savings compared to other providers.  

Give us a call today at (866)415-8986 to learn more about our trade show transportation services or to request a quote

Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials? Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

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