"How ya doing?" and "How about this weather?" are common questions, but not exactly the kind that should be asked to help booth staff learn about a visitor's needs or qualify him as a potential customer.
Margit Weisgal, Sextant Communications president, suggests staff members start by asking a few of these basic questions:
What do you do for the company? That lets the staff member know whether the person is a decision-maker who can write a check. If the person gives a one- or two-word answer, ask follow-up questions:
What responsibilities does that involve? Again, is this person a decision-maker?
What brought you to my booth? This question or the next two can tell the staff member whether the visitor is actually looking for information or a product or just killing time.
What brought you to the show?
Do you have an agenda for the show?
Do you have a budget for this purchase? When do you plan to implement it? If the person is interested in a product or service, this question helps determine whether he is a serious buyer or just building a wish list.