Approaching Reporters at a Trade Show


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When you’ve encountered a reporter and you want to approach them to discuss your product, follow these general guidelines:

Introduce yourself briefly. Even if you’ve met the reporter before, always introduce yourself to provide your listener with your name, title, and the name of your company.

Ask if the reporter has ten seconds to listen to your positioning statement. Respect the reporter’s answer – if they say no, don’t start talking about your product anyway. Instead, ask if there’s another time and place that would be more convenient for the reporter. If the reporter consents to listen to your positioning statement, remember to gain their interest by emphasizing how your product will benefit the reporter’s audience.

Ask if the reporter would like to see a demonstration in your booth. If the reporter seems interested but declines your offer to see a demo at this time, ask if they’d like to arrange a more convenient time and/or place. If they don’t agree to a demo, offer one of your press kits (you should carry a handful with you), ask for their business card, and ask if there is any other information you can send to them.

Accompany the reporter to your booth. If the reporter agrees to see a demo, escort them to your booth and use the time it takes to get there to ask questions about any special interests or concerns the reporter may have regarding your product. When you arrive at your booth, introduce the reporter to your booth personnel and supervise the demo. Make sure any questions raised by the reporter are addressed in the demo and answered to the reporter’s satisfaction.

Offer a press kit. When the demonstration is completed and the reporter’s questions answered, offer them a press kit and your business card.

Ask for the reporter’s business card. If the reporter has not yet offered their business card, ask for it. Also, ask if there is any additional information they’d like to receive (such as a copy of the product to review more thoroughly at their leisure or a list of current users they can contact). Note any requests on their business card so you can follow-up on them after the show.

Thank the reporter. Express your gratitude to the reporter for taking the time to learn about your product, and ask them to call you personally if you can be of any help to them.
Remember, if a reporter declines your offer to see a demo and/or visit your booth, don’t get discouraged. They may be overbooked with appointments or on their way to an interview with the CEO of a key company in the industry. Offer one of your press kits and your business card and ask for theirs. They may review your materials and decide to visit your booth later or call you after the show is over. If they ask you to contact them later or send additional information, note the request on their card so you can follow-up.