Five Ways to Politely Escape a Conversation at a Trade Show

Have you ever been stuck in a conversation you can wait to leave? Well is can happen at a booth during your trade show. Having to greet and talk to everyone that visits your booth is important and works best when you can move from one person to the next after your sales pitch. However, sometimes people just won’t leave. The reality is you don’t have all day to talk to someone. Now of course you can’t just walk away or tell them to stop talking, so how do you get out? Here are five strategies to know and use when needing to escape an annoying visitor.

The 007

This one is about setting up a secret signal to let your team know you need to get out. It has to be discrete you can’t do something like wave your arms. Probably something simple to flash quickly and to get your co-workers attention. When you notice the signal, you should jump to their rescue and come up with a believable excuse to get your co-worker away. Maybe something like “Hey we need you to reset the computer its not working again” or “Sorry can I borrow you to answer a question for another visitor” then you have an opening to slip away. And there you have it the perfect escape.

The Hand Off

This one is a classic, if you don’t want to talk someone just make someone else talk to them. Lead them over to another part of the exhibit and drop them off with someone else. Come up with a simple exit line and make an exit.

The Gift Basket

This is a nice way to politely end a conversation. Give them some swag and a business card can show the attendee that you are ready to move on. Make sure to leave them with an idea of what you just gave them like what the package includes as well as contact information that can be used to reach you. Don’t just hand them some stuff and push them out the door make sure they are let go nicely and will remember what you told them.

The Referral

This one takes a bit more planning and networking. This involves telling a customer about another exhibitor in the area and directing them that way. Its best to do this with a group that you already know and talk to. When you are done talking to a customer and maybe you have realized that what they are looking for you cannot provide, it maybe time to refer them to someone who can. You can either give them directions or take them to the other exhibit yourself. This helps the customer feel that you are looking out for them and really want to help. Also, your referred exhibitor may also send some extra traffic your way.

The Blame Game

This works best when used not on customers but other staffers from another exhibit show up. It doesn’t look good to a customer to have an employee throw their boss under the bus. But if you find yourself in need of an escape just say something like “I would love to stand here and talk but the boss is really trying to keep everyone on task.” It’s the perfect getaway. They can’t stop you from doing what your boss wants so this should always work unless you are clearly not busy. And one more thing is to make sure your boss is ok with being used as the bad guy for the excuse.

These are just some of the tactics that can be used by you and your staff to escape people that just go on for too long. Nothing wrong with using them if you are really busy and need to get moving. Use these strategies to make the most out of the time you spend at a trade show and gather the best leads you can. Some of these strategies were derived from an article written by Brian Dukerschein.


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