How to Sell a Product to a Customer Face to Face!

September 16, 2019 | Face to Face Selling

In this article, you’ll learn how to sell a product to a customer face to face with tips from Tradeshow Basecamp™.

We’ll discuss how to to break down sales into Five Easy Steps, how to define sales goals and how to respond when you get a ‘no thanks.’

Preparing for a Trade Show?

Train with Tradeshow Basecamp™ Online Video Courses

Tradeshow Basecamp™ is the first online video course series of its kind. This course is designed to teach you or your staff how to have profitable sales conversations at your trade show booth in just Five Easy Steps!

More than trade show tips and tricks, this course is a complete guide to selling at your trade show exhibit or similar sales event. Click on “Learn More” to watch preview lessons from Tradeshow Basecamp™ or…

….Keep reading to learn sales tips from the Tradeshow Basecamp™ training course video!

Tina Nicola, M.A.

Tina is the founder of and has been creating profitable marketing and exhibit strategies for startups, small businesses and nonprofits for over nineteen years. Her main goal is to broaden access to the techniques she has developed so anyone can benefit and improve exhibiting strategy, sales conversations and follow up.

Tradeshow Basecamp™

Our acclaimed course series, a complete program designed to help you have profitable trade shows. Get instant access to the full course series (101, 102, 103, 104).

Be fully prepared for your next event and earn your  Certified Tradeshow Basecamp Exhibitor™ (CTBE™) today!

Training a team? Check out our For Teams course series.

Introducing...Tradeshow Basecamp™

Learn How to Sell a Product to a Customer Face to Face in Five Easy Steps

In Tradeshow Basecamp™, we teach that almost every face to face sales conversation can be broken down into Five Easy Steps. It is the perfect sales strategy for the kinds of sales conversations you will have in a retail store or at a sales event like a trade show or exhibition. These steps are: 

  • Icebreaker
  • Quick Intro
  • Lead Interview
  • Next Steps
  • Disenagagement

How does it work? Use Icebreakers to actively start conversations with potential customers—these are open-ended questions that require more than a yes or no reply. Icebreakers grab a potential customer’s attention and social etiquette encourages them to reply in some way. This gives you a chance to continue the conversation! Icebreakers can be used in retail stores, pop shops and of course trade show exhibits.

After a conversation has begun, use Quick Intros—short statements about your company or product—to keep the sales conversation going. Then, find out if the person you are speaking with is a ‘good lead’ for what you are selling with the Lead Interview. Do this by asking short, specific questions to find out about the potential customer’s needs, wants, and purchasing authority. 

If at any point you discover that the person you are speaking with is not a good lead, jump right to the last step and Disengage (end the conversation)! If your conversation has uncovered that the person is (or might still be) a good lead, try to meet a sales goal by proposing appropriate Next Steps.

Learn How to Sell a Product to a Customer Face to Face with Tradeshow Basecamp™

Learn more about how to become a pro in executing these Five Easy Steps by taking one of our Tradeshow Basecamp™ courses. Tradeshow Basecamp™ includes plenty of sales role play to help you better understand how to sell a product to a customer face to face in the real world!

Watch the Tradeshow Basecamp™ Course Preview below to learn more!

Sign up for the Tradeshow Basecamp: Complete Course Series for Individuals!

Tradeshow Basecamp™ is a complete guide on how to have profitable conversations at trade shows or direct sales events. Our course training videos will teach you how to set and use sales goals to effectively guide your trade show sales conversations. You’ll learn how to identify the Four Character Lead Types you’ll meet at every trade show and how to have successful conversations with each of them.

Plan Your Sales Goals

The whole point of a conversation with a potential customer is ultimately to sell something. That means you need to be very clear about your sales goals going into a sales event or situation.

What products or services are you trying to sell at this sales event? Then, use the Lead Interview to ask short questions about the potential customer’s needs and ability to buy what you are selling. Actively listen to the answers and provide relevant information about your product or service.

After you’ve gathered all the information required, you can recommend Next Steps that meets one of your sales goals. For instance, recommend a product that’s a good fit, and try to make the sale!  

However, always prepare both primary and secondary sales goals. If a potential customer has interest but isn’t ready to buy, are there other useful sales goals that you might meet? Consider your typical customer’s journey from deciding they need a product, to learning about your brand or product and finally making a purchase from you. 

Are there questions that the customer typically needs answered before committing to purchase? By sharing a sample, signing the customer up for a product demo or sharing product reviews, could you answer those questions? As secondary sales goals, these Next Steps could all serve to push a customer closer to making a purchase from you. This makes them excellent secondary sales goals. 

Actively Listen, Don’t ‘Pitch’

A big mistake that many beginner sales professionals make is talking at—not with—the potential customer. The key to learning how to sell a product to a customer face to face is to employ active listening techniques. 

Active listening improves all of our relationships—even professional ones. Don’t talk at the customer with long pre-prepared pitches about your product. Instead, prepare short soundbites that you can share in response to a potential customer’s interests or concerns. Always ask for feedback like “Would this meet your needs?” or “How does that sound to you?”

Check out this sample lesson from Tradeshow Basecamp™ to see examples of how to sell a product to a customer face to face in both the right and wrong way. In this video, the sales rep is selling face cream. However, the same lesson can be applied to almost any product.

Responding to a ‘No Thanks’

Many sales beginners get tripped up when a potential customer says ‘no thanks.’ In the book “How to Say it to Seniors,” [affiliate link] author David Solie argues that the key to ‘selling’ an idea to seniors is to understand what their ‘no’ might really mean. Seniors often say ‘no’ to an idea when what they really mean is that they are feeling overwhelmed or ‘bossed’ and would like time to think about what that idea means for them. In other words, it’s not a definite ‘no.’

Those learning how to sell a product to a customer face to face will encounter ‘no’s with similar hidden meanings. Let’s say you work retail and have approached a customer to ask if you can help him or her to find something in the store. A ‘no thanks’ from that potential customer might simply be a request to think or browse a bit on their own before talking to anyone.

A potential customer who says ‘no thanks’ to a large commitment like talking to you or buying something, might be open if you propose a secondary sales goal that requires less commitment from them, for instance taking a free sample. In Tradeshow Basecamp™, we call this pivoting to another sales goal.

Want to learn more about Face to Face Selling?

Check out our article How to Sell a Product to a Customer: Face to Face Examples or our Podcast Episode How to Sell Anything to Anyone at a Trade Show!

What students are saying about Tradeshow Basecamp™

Forget tedious powerpoint-style courses, these charming instructors are on-camera with engaging lectures and fantastic demos. Even if you aren’t in sales you’d be hard-pressed to watch it and not come away with something useful.

N Townsend


VERY INFORMATIVE. I’m glad I have the time to train and certify my staff before our next show. It is important to my staff singing from the same hymnal whether they are sales or production personnel. This course will be just what we need.

C Beurgher, CTBE™


On my way to NAMM
show now and will adjust my icebreakers accordingly!

S Ondich


Very educational and entertaining. You really illustrated the process exceptionally well. Thank you for sharing.

J Jackson


More than I expected. The instructors are engaging and make funny but educational demos.

C Champagne


Very clear and easy to follow. I really liked the role playing and learned alot I didn’t know. Never considered you could think of sales conversations as a series of steps.

M Jordan, CTBE™

Sales Representative

So glad I found this course before my trade show coming up in December. The examples and the reviews of what was just learned are so much clearer than just reading out of a book. A fun course with Tina and Liz!.

J Neuen


Trained and Ready for Success

Powering trade show planning and exhibit success for thousands across the globe.






Average Rating



Lesson Minutes Watched




Tradeshow Basecamp™ Tracks for Every Professional

Whether you’re starting out with your first trade show, or choosing a new direction for your team, we’ve got you covered.




For Individual Professionals

Includes $9.99 Coupon Toward Online Courses to Help Incentivize Continuing Your Learning Journey.

For Individuals

For Individuals


Includes Certificate Exam

The premier online sales training course series leading to qualification as a Certified Tradeshow Basecamp Exhibitor™ (CTBE™).

For Teams

For Teams



Perfect for teams looking to ‘get on the same page’ with an event strategy. Team Leader can assign courses to members.

* Prefer to pay for one course at a time? Individually purchased courses will put you on track to a CTBE™ certification!

4.92 out of 5 stars

12 ratings

Let us know what you think...

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Leave a Reply