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Plug The Trade Show Leads Hole And Become A Rock Star

trade show lead generation


“Almost 80% of all Trade Show Leads are never followed up.”

Did you comprehend that stat?  80% of the leads gathered at trade shows go no further than the show.  NOTHING HAPPENS.  Do you want to be a Rock Star in your organization?  Do you want to be someone that makes a difference as opposed to the majority that just show up for work?  Do you want to dramatically increase your Trade Show ROI?  Then plug the hole!

The Trade Show Mystery

I read an article the other day, where the author relayed the following story:

“I recently attended a breakfast meeting.  I sat at a table with a group of friends; “friends” as defined by Will Rogers: “A stranger is just a friend I haven’t met yet.”  Richard, my new friend to my immediate right, asked what I did for a living. When I described what “trade show lead retrieval” is, he nodded, then offered an observation.

“Ah, the mystery device,” he said.

“Mystery?” I replied.

“Yes, it’s a mystery to me.  Information is collected, but the mystery is, where does it go?  What happens to it?”

Was he putting me on, I wondered?

“Richard, the idea is that the exhibitor that scanned your barcoded badge will follow up with you.”

“I figured as much.”

“Don’t they?”

“Not that I recall.  They must spend a lot of money in order to exhibit.  I’ve always wondered why they would if they have no plans to follow up their leads.”

Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon story.  Again, almost 80% of leads die at the show.

Plug the HOLE and become a Rock Star!

This is easier than you think.

Begin with the creation of a lead sheet.  A simple form that your booth staff fills out during the interaction with every qualified attendee they meet in your exhibit.   The staff should be collecting information beyond the badge scanner such as products of interest, key points of the conversation, timeline of possible decisions, other decision makers, etc. They should also be noting any personal information acquired such as family, hobbies, background…anything that could possibly assist in building a relationship.  Finally, the staffer needs to rank the lead with some priority: A, B, C or Hot, Warm, Cold.

That ‘Lead Sheet’ needs to go to a central collection point in the exhibit space after every interaction.  (Shameless plug:  Skyline’s Stratus Table has a built in feature for just this purpose.)

At the end of every show day, the Booth Captain should secure the leads away from the booth and hold a quick meeting to review the leads and make sure everything is clear and complete.  This is also a great time to talk about what is and is not working in the exhibit.  Now the captain can confidently hand off the leads and answer any possible questions.

Time Is A Factor

How quickly the organization responds to the need of the lead is a direct reflection of the organization in the eyes of the prospect.  And remember, this prospect is searching for a solution and has probably visited your competitor.  Therefore, the Booth Captain must quickly pass the leads to someone that has the responsibility and training of entering the information into the organization’s sales & marketing database.  Depending upon the urgency of the lead, information must be forwarded to the appropriate sales person who makes sure that whatever promise was made on the show floor is now fulfilled in a timely manner.

If the booth staff has done its job correctly, the show leads have a clear value and the sales staff has a clear mission to accomplish and a timeline to do so.  Management can have productive follow up meetings, track the progress of the leads, and record the show results.   True ROI can be placed on each show and that will allow you to better focus your resources.

Bottom line: the bottom line will increase.

You will have Plugged the Hole and become a Rock Star! Now… let’s get working on your encore…

What's Working In ExhibitingGet tips on lead management, booth design, measuring trade show results and more in the What’s Working In Exhibiting white paper.  Click here to request your free copy of this 32-page book.  

About the Author

Shawn Lacagnina was a sales manager at Skyline Displays of Houston in Houston, Texas.

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