There’s a variety of reasons customers leave a store and never return to shop there again, including because of inventory price points, product assortment and the interaction among employees and customers. Keeping this in mind, how can these same factors influence your booth displays and experience as an exhibitor at a trade show?

Let’s explore this in terms of buyers working the ASD show floor…

Many buyers and potential buyers will leave your booth and never return to do business with you again because of the quality of the interaction with the people working it. The good news is that the quality of that interaction is completely controllable, but it takes consistent observation, training, and reinforcement of what’s good, and a strong discussion and retraining about what is not.

Retail buyers - like their customers - are looking for that great, elusive customer service experience. Exhibitors who are in the transaction business – getting as many people through the booth as quickly as possible – probably don’t care as much about that reality as much as you do, however. That’s because you’re in the relationship business; each and every buyer you interact with is important to the growth of your business. This means that every person who works ASD Market Week must be a consummate professional who knows their way around the booth, what it sells, is comfortable interacting with people, and can build relationships that keep buyers coming back for more.

It’s a big job that’s easy when you follow these 6 easy steps:

1. Keep everyone up-to-speed and ready to work with buyers

Hold a ten-minute meeting each day before the show floor opens. Cover what’s new in your booth, what’s hot, and what’s important to know that day at the show. Talk about what buyers are saying, ways to tweak your displays for bigger impact, events happening at ASD; in other words, discuss what your team needs to know to address the day.

2. Walk your entire booth every day

If you’ve ever heard yourself say, “It was right here yesterday!” you need to adopt our 360 Degree Pass-by exercise – a quick walk through every corner of the booth. In the five minutes it takes to do this exercise, you will easily notice which areas need attention and which displays need to be filled in or fluffed.

3. Never pre-judge a customer

Have you ever wondered why buyers immediately say, “I’m just looking” when you’ve only said hello? It’s because they have a mental image of your booth that could be based on a past experience, or maybe even an experience they had in another booth that sells similar merchandise.

In our focus groups, we often ask why people are so quick to throw out the “I’m just looking” response. One of those reasons is because they think they are being judged the second they enter your space. You can never pre-judge a person browsing your booth because you never know where your next great sale will come from.

There’s a retail legend that tells the story of the farmer who visited a Sears store, dressed in overalls, his boots covered in manure. None of the full-time associates wanted to wait on him, so a part-timer approached the farmer and asked how he could be of service. Turns out the farmer was in the market for a brand new kitchen and bathroom for his old farmhouse, and he was there to buy whatever it took to outfit the two rooms. This was a five-figure commissionable sale that was paid in cash. Part-timers didn’t earn commission, but the full-timers who did weren’t happy. It was their own fault for pre-judging the farmer.

4. Know that you are speaking volumes even when your mouth isn’t open

Have you heard of the 7-38-55 Rule of Personal Communication? 7 percent of what we communicate is through the words we use, 38 percent is through tone of voice, and 55 percent of what we communicate to one another is done through body language. It’s how buyers perceive that body language is what’s important. A team member who crosses his arms can be as poorly perceived as one who rolls his eyes at a buyer’s question. Invading a customer’s personal space, staring at your cell phone or sitting down at the booth when you should be standing isn’t high on the interaction list either. And two or more team members having a conversation – warranted or not – can cause buyers to keep away, rather than approach them when they need help.

5. Stop saying “May I help you?”

The automatic response to that question is always “no”, so stop saying it. “May I help you?” only works when the buyer is clearly in a hurry and obviously needs immediate help.

So, what can you ask instead?

How about, “Good morning, it’s great to see you today!” Talk about the show, Las Vegas, anything but your merchandise. The goal of what you say here is simply to greet the customer and make her feel welcome. If she wants to browse, let her browse. But if you sense she is looking for something in particular, ask, “So, what brings you in to see us today?” This question opens the dialogue.

6. Cement the relationship

Whether buyers make a purchase or not, invite them back to visit your booth again. Tell them about upcoming specials, a product that’s in the works or anything else that might be important to them. Invite them to sign up for your newsletter, email blasts, and to follow you on Facebook and other social media. Let buyers know which pages of your website will be important to watch in between ASD shows. This 30-second dialog will make buyers feel important to you and your company.

These 6 easy steps will help you build relationships that keep buyers close and lift your team to higher levels of success at ASD market Week!

Click here for more information, or to register for ASD Market Week

Take advantage of ASD Market Week’s 90+ free retail strategy sessions this March 11-14, 2018 in Las Vegas.

Contributed by Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender. Kizer & Bender are professional speakers, authors, and consultants whose client list reads like a “Who’s Who” in business. Companies internationally depend upon them for timely advice on consumers and the changing retail marketplace. They are widely referred to as consumer anthropologists because they stalk and study that most elusive of mammals: today’s consumer. KIZER & BENDER are well known for their unique and intensive consumer research. Any speaker can talk about customers, but Georganne and Rich actually become them. In addition to yearly focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and intensive on-site studies, their research includes posing as every kind of customer you can imagine; and maybe even a few that you can’t. The results of their research are literally straight from the customers’ mouth: solid ground level intelligence you can use to better serve your own customers. KIZER & BENDER’s presentations blend brilliant content with colorful examples, humor, and insight. You’ll learn while you laugh! And you’ll come away with inspiration, strategies, tactics, tips, and techniques you can use the second you return to your business!