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Recognizing the different traffic types

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The trade show floor is full of people with different agendas. As an exhibitor, you need to familiarize yourself with the various visitor types:
  • Definites. If you have done a thorough job of preshow marketing, definite prospects and customers will visit your booth.
  • Demonstration junkies. Watch out for passers-by who are attracted to your booth by a demonstration. These could be valuable prospects or time wasters. Ask a few short, open-ended questions to find out.
  • Curiosity cats. Do not spend too much time with someone who is just interested in the design and construction of your booth or intricate details about your graphics.
  • Paper lovers. Some people love to collect literature. Are they attending the show to research the market for a boss? If so, they may be an influencer worth pursuing.
  • Eyeballers . These types are usually extremely friendly. Questioning will determine whether or not they are prospects worth pursuing.
  • Jeopardy gigolos. Contests that require more than just a business card to enter will help deter these types from finding their way onto your follow-up lists.
  • Keepsakers. Any kind of giveaway attracts these types. Keen questioning will ascertain if this visitor has potential.
  • The disinterested. They often let you know through their body language; for example, walking by and purposely avoiding eye contact. Waylaying these types will only upset them.
  • Hawks. These people attend shows for the sole purpose of selling you their products or services. Publication advertising representatives are a prime example.
  • Job seekers . Trade shows are an excellent place to network and look for organizations that may have present or future job openings. As with Hawks, you may want to spend time with them during slow, unproductive periods.
  • Nonentities. These types could be underlings in their organization sent to do some specific research. Never underestimate them. They may be extremely strong influencers or know whom in their organization you need to contact. Time spent with them could be invaluable.
  • Snoops. Beware of the competition! These types often give themselves away by knowing too much or asking precise questions. Make sure that you do more questioning than talking so that you lessen the chances of giving away valuable information.

Susan A. Friedmann, CSP, is founder of the Tradeshow Coach, Lake Placid, N.Y., and author of "Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies." She can be reached at info@thetradeshowcoach.com.

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