What sort of qualifying questions should I ask when exhibiting at a tradeshow?

When exhibiting at a tradeshow, it’s important to ask qualifying questions to determine whether a person you are talking to is a potential customer or not. When advising clients, I suggest starting with ten questions, the first two to qualify, the second two or three to identify area of need, the next couple for deeper dive, and the last is for contact information or the sale.

I asked ChatGBT about qualifying questions and here is a list of ten questions they came up with.  Personally, I am not a fan of the first one…a smarty like me will always answer, a car, but here are the ten qualifying questions:

  1. What brings you to the tradeshow today?
  2. Are you familiar with our product/service?
  3. Are you currently using a similar product/service?
  4. What specific challenges are you looking to address with our product/service?
  5. What is your budget for this type of product/service?
  6. When are you looking to make a decision about purchasing?
  7. Who makes the purchasing decisions in your organization?
  8. What are your pain points with your current solution?
  9. How important is [specific feature/benefit] to you?
  10. What do you think sets our product/service apart from competitors?

From my list of questions, I would ask:

  • Are you in the market for our product or service at this time?
  • Are there specific questions you have about how our product or service works?

These types of questions separates the tire kickers from the shoppers.  The rule of thumb here is, don’t get stuck spending time with a tire kicker any more than you have to.  There are only so many exhibiting hours available, make sure you use as many of them as possible to qualify prospects.


I have been in the music and entertainment business since 1977. I love podcasting and audio production as a business model and enjoy helping business grab new customers with engaging audio and video.

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