9 ½ Lead Generation Tactics You Might Not Have Considered

If you’ve ever exhibited at a trade show you know it’s an expensive forms of marketing. So why do so many companies continue to market at these events?

Summer Sale Big Savings!The answer is simple – Because trade shows put you in front of a highly-targeted group of people who are all interested in what you have to offer. So you do have the opportunity to get a great ROI on the expensive show – if you do it right.

The only way you can justify the expense of exhibiting at these events is if you generate a large amount of quality leads. Sadly, many companies pack up their booths having only generated a paltry amount of leads. That’s because they had no real plan or strategy in place, and that’s exactly what it takes to make your trade show experience as lucrative as possible.

Here are 9 ½ key strategies that will help you generate leads and increase the ROI of your next trade show investment:

  1. Start Generating Leads Before the Event

Hopefully you keep all of the leads you make at each event. If so, and depending on how many years you’ve been exhibiting, you could have thousands of potential contacts to reach out to before your show begins. Before you even step onto the floor to setup your display you could have numerous appointments set and ready to go. Social media is great for reaching out to old leads and prospects and getting them excited for your exhibit.

  1. Don’t be a Jerk

Sure, your main objective of every trade show is to generate leads – period. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk about it. There was a time when you would see sales people at these events disqualify leads practically right to the prospect’s face. They would treat people as dollar signs and almost push them out of the way or completely ignore them altogether. But these days with the proliferation of social media, a brand can’t afford to tick anyone off because ticked off voices carry far and wide in this digital age.

  1. Work with Your “Competition”

You’ll get a lot farther in business in general if you work with your competitors. For instance, let’s say at your next trade show you collect 1200 business cards and one of your competitors at the next booth over collects about 1000. If you share those leads with each other you’ve got 2200 between the two of you. Now, you might be in the same industry but that doesn’t necessarily mean you offer the exact same products or services. If you sell office furniture and they sell office cleaning services, it won’t hurt you one bit to partner up like this, in fact, you’ll most likely benefit. Plus, you’ll also potentially have a long-term referral partner.

  1. Leave Your Sales Pitch at Home

We talk a lot on this blog about the value of not selling your prospects but genuinely helping them. We talk about it a lot because we know firsthand this is the best and most lucrative way to do business. Always has been – always will be.

When at these events, make sure your content, demos and presentations are really engaging and help people solve their problems. If you can solve people’s problems and communicate this to them, you will have NO PROBLEM generating tons of leads. If you try to sell someone, they’ll walk away.

  1. Get Prospects to Meet Upper Management

Chances are your executive team is going to be at the event anyway, you might as well have them help in the lead generation department. When you have a prospect who’s on the warm-lead-fence, schedule an appointment during the event for them to sit down with your executives who can give them the royal treatment and hopefully convert them.

Magic Square Table Top Graphic

Magic Square Trade Show Tables

  1. Use Good Bait

Sales people are still trying to bait prospects with crappy giveaways like stress balls and cup holders. Give prospects a giveaway they can really use and appreciate. This will turn their initial interest in what your company offers into a “I must have this” mentality. Think about your sales people that have to follow up with lukewarm leads. It’s a complete time-suck.  Help out by giving away items that start to sell your company way before the follow-up call happens.

  1. Be Memorable in a Relevant Way

Don’t resort to tricks and cheesy promotions just to get the entire floor’s attention if it has nothing to do with your company. For instance, don’t hire sexy belly dancers when you sell mufflers. What does one have to do with the other? You may generate some buzz at the very beginning of the event because, hey, you’ve got sexy belly dancers, but soon people will catch on to the fact that it is a desperate attempt to be memorable.

Being memorable is great – it’s, in fact, really important. Just do it in ways that add real value.

  1. Promote the Event Itself

Generating leads is a numbers game. The more people that attend the event, the more opportunities you have to convert prospects. So why not help promote the event itself? You could potentially drive hundreds of attendees to an event and guess what – they’ll all come looking for you. Offer to pay for passes in order to get people in the door. Even if just a percentage of those people buy from you, you will have made a significant return on your investment.

  1. Become an Authority

Trade shows are a great place to show your credibility and authority in your industry. So, always look for opportunities to be a part of an expert panel, run a seminar or deliver a presentation. Who’s not going to want to get more information about a product or service from an industry expert, right?

9 ½. Follow Up with Leads Immediately if You Can

There’s no rule that says you have to wait until the show is over before you can follow up with leads. It’s a proven fact that the speed with which you follow up makes a big difference when it comes to making the sale. So, don’t be afraid to follow up pretty immediately after initial contact has been made – get ‘em while they’re hot!

And speaking of following up with leads, do you have a strategy for that? If not, you may want to download our free guide!

Download 7 Tips for Follow Ups