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The six people you are likely to meet at a trade show

By Barry Siskind


Exhibit marketing is all about meeting customers, clients and the public in a face to face environment. Your physical display as well as your booth staff’s skills need to be well honed to capture the attention of people in your target market group. Knowing who these people are is the first step. The next job is to develop a strategy for handling each booth visitor. Here are six profiles of potential booth visitors:

Edgar Dunn

Edgar has a real and immediate need for your product or service. He is ready to make a decision that is compatible with your sales cycle, has the authority and the resources to act.

Edgar is a clever chap. He wears many disguises. Sometimes Edgar fits your customer profile to a tee but sometimes he looks quite the opposite. The trick is not to let Edgar fool you by his clothes, grooming or personal style. Treat every booth visitor equally and in the first few minutes see if you can identify your real Edgar’s.

Emma Hope

Emma and Edgar act the same. She has a need for your product, service or information. She has a position of authority and the resources necessary to implement a decision. But here’s the catch - Emma is not ready to make a commitment now or anytime within your sales cycle. Emma has long-term potential which is better dealt with when you have more time – after the show.

Louis Fatale

Emma has a close cousin named Louis.  Louis is an amiable fellow who shows a keen interest in your offering. He nods his head in agreement, says all the right words and is willing to listen to anything you have to say. The bottom line is that Louis lacks potential. He can’t use your offering now or anytime within the foreseeable future. Don’t waste a lot of time with Louis. Disengage professionally and continue to look for people who can take advantage of your offering.

Ally McMate 

Ally is a sensitive person.  Her temperament is a learned response. She has met many boothers who have simply rebuffed her and assumed that just because she doesn’t make the final decision she has no worth.   

Ally is a sleeping tiger. Wake her up abruptly and she will attack. But a gentle nudging and Ally can become a great friend who is willing to help you in many ways such as referring you to real buyers. 

Zelda Post

Zelda asks lots of questions. But the reality is that Zelda has an ulterior motive - employment.

Trade shows are a rich quarry of potential employers. For those in the job market, walking a show can save countless hours of frustration sending unsolicited rÉsumÉ’s or answering advertisements that attract hundreds of applicants. So, armed with her questions she approaches. Refer Zelda to your HR department or if your company is not hiring, tell her.

Moe Lassis

Moe is the last of our players. Moe comes in many disguises. Moe can be the spouse of a delegate, someone coerced into attending the event by a friend, a fellow exhibitor or simply someone who doesn’t get out much. While a conversation with Moe can be fun and fill up slow show hours, continuing the conversation leaves you engaged in conversation you may not be able to break away from when a real prospect shows up. The strategy is to disengage early in the conversation.

Before you participate in any show or event know the people you will meet and develop a strategy for handling each type.