The Art of the Conference Pick-Up: Mobify Does

The Mobify team flew down to Dallas last week for the National Retail Federation’s largest digital summit, After racing armadillos and riding a (real) bull at the Monday pre-summit party, it was time to connect with retailers to hear their key priorities before jumping into the holiday season.

Networking can be fun, but it can also be the most stressful part of a conference. How should I approach that group of people? What do I say? It’s almost as hard as approaching someone at a bar. So we asked attendees to share the best and worst pick-up lines they heard at this year. Bad news exhibitors – it looks like you are at fault for most of these cringe-worthy icebreakers!

The Bad: Top 5

  1. “Hey, I think I sent you an email last week!”

With 5000 attendees and 280 vendors, this is too generic of a statement. The retailer who shared this with us actually responded with “Yes, you and everyone else at this conference.”

  1. “Do you want to boost your conversion rates?”

If you have to ask, you clearly don’t know much about commerce.

  1. “My hotel room is 734”.

I thought there were designated meeting rooms on the exhibitor floor?

  1. “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”

As a vendor, I can say first hand that this vendor probably does know you from somewhere – and it’s from all their LinkedIn messaging.

  1. “Want to enter our prize draw for a hoverboard and give it a test ride?”

This has the potential to be a great line. It’s fun and encourages people to enter an exhibitor’s booth without the fear of being pitched with nothing in return. However, the outcome was less than ideal when one attendee fell face first during his attempt.

The Good: Top 5

  1. “I like your boots.”

A genuine compliment goes a long way, especially when someone comments on your cowboy boots in Dallas.

  1. “I spend a lot of money in your store.”

Use the information given to you on the name tags. That’s why it’s there! Love the store they work for? Tell them! Once again, a genuine compliment works.

  1. “Hi, my name is X. How’s the conference going for you?”

Sweet and simple, this could be the most used icebreaker at a show.

  1. “This is a great venue. Have you been to this show before?”

Keep things positive, and find out a little bit about your new friend without being sales-y. It’s foolproof. 

  1.  “What’s the worst pick-up line you’ve ever heard at a conference?”

We’re all about optimizing. So take one of the bad icebreakers and turn it into a good one.

Make It Work

Did it work? Are you the networking king or queen? Make sure to follow-through beyond the pick up line. Ask a lot of questions, get them talking about themselves, and stay attentive. Not only will you swap contact details, but you could end up meeting each other again very soon. And that’s always good for business.