Lessons from a Con Man

It turns out you can learn a lot from watching a street hustler plying his trade upon unsuspecting tourists. As a trade show exhibitor, one of your most important jobs is to stop people walking by and persuade them to give you a few moments of their precious time. Watch how a pro does it in the video below...


"Step Right Up!"

After working a recent gig in San Francisco, I went for a stroll by the waterfront and saw a fellow playing the old Three Shell Game.

On the street, the shell game hustler relies on shills to help draw in a crowd. These shills are secretly part of his team. When you watch the video, see if you can guess which people are shills. See how they create a sense of excitement, "something is going on." A crowd will attract a bigger crowd.

Next, he needs a carrot to entice people to play. One of his shills "wins" a $100 and a "mark" in the crowd thinks there might be a chance to win some easy money. What sort of enticement do you have for getting people to visit your booth?

Ultimately, the mark smells a rat and decides not to play. You might have a great carrot to get people into your booth, but how do you then get those people to stay and talk to your sales staff?

In this case, the hustler failed to establish sufficient rapport with his "lead." When he presented his "call to action" and asked the mark to put up some money, the man wisely backed away.

Fortunately, when you hire a BoothBuzz entertainer´╗┐´╗┐ to work your booth, there is no deception involved! We build a crowd and entertain them which builds rapport. We incorporate your company message into the presentation and ask questions to establish the best leads and then pass them directly to your staff.


  • You need a carrot to entice people to your booth.
  • A crowd will attract a crowd.
  • You need to give people a good reason to stay in the booth and listen to your marketing message.
  • You do this by building rapport. If you can put a smile on their face you're half way home! 
  • Once you have built rapport, you can provide a sales message and present a call to action.