How to interview at trade shows & other venues
  2. Discovery Interviews (Step 2)
  3. How to interview at trade shows & other venues

3. Interviewing multiple companies at once

What if your trade show interviewees work for different companies?

Here’s something that can be quite different with an interview at a trade show than at a customer’s office: You could interview several companies at once. Of course, this is totally out of the question in many industries. If your target industry is such that the customers are in fierce competition with each other, then this won’t apply.

But if your target customers are nurses, home builders, or auto refinish technicians, they probably won’t have any qualms about discussing their needs in a group. Also… consider this: Your direct customers may be in fierce competition… but perhaps your customers’ customers are not.

A Discovery interview with multiple company representatives is essentially the same as one with a single company represented by different job functions: You’re just adding more outcomes, without judging their respective merits, so it’s OK if different companies have different points of view.

But what about Preference interviews? You can still conduct these with multiple company representatives, but you should conduct a Preference interview differently than if all attendees are from the same company: In the latter case, you’ll get them to agree to a single 1-to-10 rating for Importance and Satisfaction on each outcome:

When multiple companies are represented in the room, have them individually record their 1-to-10 importance and satisfaction scores on a sheet that you collect later. After they rate each outcome, allow some time for discussion, letting attendees tell their rating and their reason for it (if they so choose). In some cases, you’ll note that others adjust their score accordingly. The beauty of a Preference interview with 6 or 8 attendees from different companies is that you’ll get a lot of data in short order. For more, see the BlueHelp article, Multiple companies in one Preference interview.


Keywords: trade show, industry fair, trade conference, industry event, trade expo, trade exposition, trade convention, trade association, trade show attendees, multiple companies in interview