A Guide for Exhibitors; handle difficult questions at trade shows 

Posted 01/07/2024
A Guide for Exhibitors; handle difficult questions at trade shows 
Difficult Questions answered at a trade exhibition show


Trade shows are bustling hubs of opportunity, where businesses have the chance to showcase their products, network with industry peers, and engage potential clients. However, they also come with their fair share of challenges, one of the most daunting being how to handle difficult questions. Whether it’s a technical query, a critical comment, or a competitor’s probing question, how you respond can make or break your trade show success. We understand the intricacies of trade show performance, and we’re here to guide you through these tricky situations.

1. Prepare Thoroughly 

The best defense to handle difficult questions is preparation. Before the trade show, work with your team to anticipate possible questions. Consider the following steps: 

  • Identify Common Questions: Review past trade show experiences and gather frequently asked questions. 
  • Prepare Detailed Responses: Develop comprehensive answers for these questions, ensuring they align with your company’s messaging and values. 
  • Train Your Team: Conduct role-playing sessions where team members practice answering these questions confidently and accurately. 

By preparing in advance, you’ll equip your team with the knowledge and confidence to handle challenging inquiries. 

2. Listen Actively 

When faced with a situation that requires you to handle a difficult question, it’s crucial to listen carefully before responding. Active listening involves: 

  • Paying Full Attention: Focus entirely on the questioner without interrupting them. 
  • Acknowledging the Question: Nod or use verbal acknowledgments like “I see” or “That’s a great question.” 
  • Clarifying if Necessary: If the question is unclear, ask for further explanation to ensure you understand it fully. 

Active listening demonstrates respect and shows the questioner that you value their input, which can diffuse tension and create a more positive interaction. 

3. Stay Calm and Professional 

Handle difficult questions can sometimes feel like personal attacks, but it’s important to remain calm and professional. Here’s how: 

  • Keep Your Composure: Take a deep breath and maintain a steady, calm demeanor. 
  • Respond Respectfully: Avoid defensive or dismissive language. Instead, thank the questioner for their inquiry and address it thoughtfully. 
  • Stay Positive: Frame your responses in a positive light, focusing on solutions and benefits rather than problems and negatives. 

Maintaining professionalism ensures that your interactions reflect well on your company, regardless of the question’s nature. 

4. Provide Honest and Transparent Answers 

Honesty is always the best policy, especially when dealing with difficult questions. If you don’t know the answer, admit it and offer to follow up after the show. Here’s how to handle such situations: 

  • Acknowledge the Limitation: Say something like, “That’s a great question. I don’t have that information at hand right now.” 
  • Promise a Follow-Up: Collect the questioner’s contact information and assure them you’ll get back to them with the answer. 
  • Follow Through: Make sure to follow up promptly after the event with the promised information. 

Transparency builds trust and credibility with potential clients. 

5. Redirect to Key Messages 

When questions veer into sensitive or off-topic areas, it’s useful to steer the conversation back to your key messages. You can do this by: 

  • Bridging: Use phrases like “What’s really important here is…” or “Let’s not forget that…”. 
  • Highlighting Benefits: Focus on the benefits and strengths of your products or services. 
  • Staying On Message: Consistently tie your responses back to your main selling points. 

This strategy helps keep the conversation productive and aligned with your objectives. 

6. Involve the Right Team Members 

If a question is outside your expertise, don’t hesitate to involve a team member who is better equipped to answer. Here’s how: 

  • Introduce the Expert: Politely introduce the relevant team member and explain their expertise. 
  • Facilitate the Transition: Stay with the conversation to ensure a smooth transition and support the expert as needed. 
  • Show Team Cohesion: Demonstrate your team’s strength and collaboration by working together seamlessly. 

This approach not only ensures accurate responses but also showcases your team’s depth of knowledge.

To handle difficult questions at a trade show can be challenging, but certainly with the right preparation and strategies, you can turn these moments into opportunities to shine. We specialize in helping businesses excel at trade shows through strategic planning, comprehensive training, and expert staffing. By following these tips, you’ll be well-equipped to handle any question with confidence and poise, ensuring your trade show presence is a success. 

Schedule a meeting, and learn much more on how to excel at your exhibition,

Posted 01/07/2024