What is it that convinces someone to approach one stand and not another? What is it that convinces someone to approach your stand and make an enquiry into your products/services? Wouldn’t we all like to know – trade shows would become a mine of endless business enquiries, paying for the site and infrastructure many times over. But in the real world things are never so clear.
So what of these trade show visitors? What is in their minds as they walk up and down aisles? What are they looking for and what would their criteria be in choosing a stand to approach?
If every trade show visitor was a rational decision maker, with a clear idea of their own business needs, knowing which products or services would meet those needs and at what price, had no hang-ups talking to new people, confident to walk onto a trade stand and discuss detail, then perhaps it would be a relatively straight forward task for exhibitors to respond to these direct queries. Of course these trade show attendees don’t exist (or at least very rarely). Exhibitors who set up seeking to respond to these visitors without addressing the vast majority who are less certain of their business requirements or less confident of their abilities in face to face situations, will not be tapping into the vast majority of potential enquiries that exist within any one show situation.
I have heard it said often by exhibitors and stand staff that “if they want to buy, they will, and if they don’t want to buy, they won’t”. This is undeniably correct. Its also undeniably wrong. Which one depends on which set of show attendees one applies this wisdom to. For most show attendees, those who display those human qualities of doubt, partial knowledge, and anything other than rock solid confidence, who are located somewhere on a spectrum between purchasing or not, then this is clearly wrong. In fact, the above approach puts the complete emphasis on the visitor to make a decision about your products/services PRIOR to visiting the stand and this is absolutely not where we want to be as exhibitors. Ideally, we want to engage with all those considering if your business can help them, however nascent those thoughts are, as well as to communicate to others who have not yet considered why your business could meet a need they were unaware they had.
And that’s the psychology of show exhibiting – finding the doubts in your potential stand visitors and build your show presence accordingly.