How to Say Goodbye: 5 Ways for Booth Staffers to Disengage


  1. Give Thanks
    • Description: One of the most effective ways to disengage is to simply thank the person for visiting and tell them to feel free to look around the booth or enjoy the show and then step back or away from them.
    • When to use: When you’ve engaged them, asked a few qualifying questions, and determined they are not a fit.
    • Pitfalls: They may still hang around and try to keep talking to you.
  2. The Card Trick
    • Description: Giving them your business card or exchanging business cards can be very effective to signal the end of the conversation. “John, I’ve really enjoyed talking with you. Here’s my card, in case you or anyone you know may have an interest in our products. Enjoy the rest of the show.”
    • When to use: When you’ve qualified them and realize they do not have an immediate interest or need, but they may be worth entering into your database. You can also use this when they are not qualified, but you are having a hard time disengaging.
    • Pitfalls: You may be wasting your business card if they are not a potential match, and if you are not going to enter them into your database, you will have to dispose of their card.
  3. Show Me The Way
    • Description: Find a booth located near yours that has something interesting, engaging or fun going on and tell them they should go check it out.
    • When to use: You’ve tried disengaging by thanking them and giving them a business card.
    • Pitfalls: Make sure the booth isn’t too close to yours that they turnaround and come right back after visiting it.
  4. Slow the Verbal Flow
    • Description: As soon as there is a pause in the dialogue, ask them “ I wonder if you could do me a favor?” This will disrupt their verbal flow and cause them to focus on you. Tell them “I’ve really enjoyed talking with you. But I’ve got an appointment I need to get ready for, would that be OK?”
    • When to use: When the person keeps talking on and on and won’t stop, and you need to break their mental flow to try to wind down the conversation and move on.
    • Pitfalls: This needs be done in a soft tone and delivered politely so not be perceived as rude.
  5. Tag, You’re It!
    • Description: Create a subtle non-verbal gesture that your team knows and flash the gesture to get someone to help you out of the conversation.
    • When to use: You’ve tried techniques one through four and they are still here.
    • Pitfalls: Make sure your booth staff are all aware of the gesture and are committed to helping each other out.

5 Ways Not to Disengage:

  1. Don’t scan their badge and say you’re going to follow-up if you’re not.
  2. Don’t hand them off to another booth staffer.
  3. Don’t be rude.
  4. Don’t be disrespectful.
  5. Don’t directly ask them to leave your booth.