Time to Say Goodbye: The Art of Disengaging Trade Show Attendees

By September 22, 2014Trade Show News

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research recently released a report, "Once the Conversation is Over – It's Over," on an often-overlooked aspect of the trade show experience: how to disengage attendees.

Yes, you read that correctly. Although the primary goal of a trade show is to attract people to your booth in order to engage them in conversation for the ultimate purpose of lead capture, the opposite of all that – disengagement – also plays a critical part.

"Business-to-business exhibitions are time-compressed marketing opportunities," noted Brian Casey, president and CEO of CEIR, in a statement. "To assure exhibit staff engage with as many target attendees as possible, a systematic disengagement approach is key."

The author of the report – Barry Siskind, president and founder of the International Training and Management Company – took a look at two types of disengagement, as outlined by Successful Meetings:

  • Presumptive disengagement: Both the exhibitor and the prospect acknowledge that it's time for the conversation to draw to a close.
  • Conciliatory disengagement: The exhibitor is aware that the conversation doesn't need to go on for any longer and is eager to focus on lead generation with other attendees, but his or her conversational partner isn't ready to cut the cord.

"Mastering the skills of disengagement has never been more important," Siskind wrote.

After all, failing to disengage appropriately and politely may undo all the effort staff put into engaging a prospect in the first place, and this could result in an epic stumble at the final hurdle that may cost your company a viable lead. When training staff to put their best foot forward at your next trade show, don't forget to address the final ingredient of any conversation: ending it. 

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