7. Don’t pounce!
Some visitors will know exactly what they are looking for, and if you don’t frighten them away, they will tell you in their own good time. Many more may not know what they were looking for, at least, not until you have told them what you have to offer! But even so, please don’t pounce on them?
Perhaps the worst thing you can do, as any shop-keeper ought to know (but often doesn’t!), is to ask: “Can I help you?” The simple answer for many passers-by is to say“No” and to go away. You can do so much better than that!
Unless you and your trusty colleagues are all very busy, far more helpful to bring passing visitors in to your stand may be:
– first, just engage in eye-contact with all you can and smile;
– then, for those who return your eye-contact, ask something general and neutral such as: “What’s the weather like out there?”; “Have you come far?”; “That’s a fabulous scarf/tie/shirt you are wearing!“; or
even “How are you?” or “What do you make of the exhibition so far?”. Remember, most people prefer to buy from people they like, and will run a mile from those they don’t, so the first task may well be only a gentle relationship-building exercise;
– after that, try a more specific question (but NOT “Can help you?”!), such as: “What drew you to this event today?”; “Are you in search of anything in particular?”; “I saw you looking at XYZ — can I ask what caught your attention?”; “Have you seen ABC? — it is a DEF, what do you make of it?”.
– where you have a very clear product range, at this stage you can then (and must!) also ask: “Do you buy LMN?”; “Do tell me what interests you most about LMN?”; “Did you know we also supply OPQ?”; “Have you seen this…?”; and even: “Would you like me to tell you more about it?”.