After doing over 100 specialty food trade shows, my Coach Maz #1 tip is…

Be curious. Ask questions. Engage your prospect. Don’t make it all about you.

How?
Have a 30-90 second elevator speech that tells your story. Then ask your first question:

  • What brings you to the show?
  • Tell me about your business.
  • Is this a product that might work in your business?

The exact question depends on who is standing in front of you and what you can glean from their badge. Often, it’s hard to tell if a show attendee is a qualified prospect. You don’t want to spend too much time with someone who isn’t a viable business partner. Nor do you want to insult someone who might be a great partner by assuming they aren’t. So, tread lightly, but establish why they are there and how you might be a good resource.

Next, determine how they want to buy. Distributor or direct. Get the specifics.

To be a good supplier, you’ll need to promote. Ask about their programs.

Finally, get their contact information AND their assistant’s! They are going to have a very full in-box when they get back to the office, but their assistant will be happy to provide you with new item forms, promo forms, distributor contact information and any number of logistics answers you need to get the order.

Good luck and have a great show!