Selling a product to a reluctant observer

The eager conference booth worker stands ready to hawk his product.

The business cards are ready.

The demo laptop is ready to roll with product demonstrations.

The free giveaways line the crowded vendor table.

And then your target market walks by…

When a disinterested, unmotivated buyer walks by your booth, are you ready to persuade?
When a disinterested, unmotivated buyer walks by your booth, are you ready to persuade?

He has one hand in his pocket; the other hand holding his cell phone checking messages.

Or, he walks with arms crossed and stares mindlessly out into space, ignoring you as if you were a banner ad selling virus protection for your computer.

So how do you go about reaching this person?

  • Knock the cell phone out of his hand to get his attention?
  • Cough loudly to startle him from his slumber?

As funny as these scenarios would be, they won’t get you very far in reaching, educating, influencing your potential buyer.

Maybe you aren’t at the right show? If all you see on the trade show floor are software testers, and you want to reach middle management, perhaps you didn’t do your homework. Get the up-front demographic and registrant data next time.

If you are trying to reach a distracted, disinterested person, try these approaches:

  1. Say these words: “Excuse me, sir. Did you have a few seconds to answer a few questions for me? I want to see if our investment in this show is worth it for next time. I’d really like to know who you are and what you do.” If you get the brush off, don’t fret; try it again with the next person.
  2. Make your software readily available for non-confrontational browsing. Let the crowd come to you by introducing an interactive, fun way to present your product on a monitor or touchscreen. Don’t hover over the screen; let it breathe and let them browse without pressure.
  3. Leave the booth and walk the floor. When the moment’s right, (at lunch, in the line for coffee, happy hour) introduce yourself and ask what the other person does. Why did he come to the show? What’s the best thing he learned today? Keep it about getting to know their situation, challenges, joys, pain, and not about your new, fresh product that they just don’t care about. Believe me; they’ve heard all the product pitches, so you need a different approach.

Don’t get discouraged if your target market appears not that into you. Don’t take it personally. Take a different perspective with a few of these approaches and you’ll start to have meaningful conversations.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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