Quality Leads Mean ROI On Your Trade Show Displays

As we like to discuss, one of the best things about trade show displays is that they’re extremely multipurpose and can benefit you in numerous ways. However, if we had to pick one single most important purpose for a typical trade show booth, it’s probably lead generation.Custom hybrid exhibition stand with fabric graphics and reception counter-resized-600

While you may meet a few clients at a show that are immediately ready to purchase your goods or services, that’s not the real goal – not that many visitors at a show are ready to buy immediately.

Most of the real payoff comes after the show, when you start contacting the people you’ve met and try to talk them into becoming customers.There’s more to it than just getting names on a list, and for sure, not all leads are created equal.

Much of the time, what you do during the show will have more influence on your later lead conversion than the sales efforts of the team inside your exhibition stands. A list with a relatively few quality leads could pay off a lot more than a massive list of everyone who attended the show, or even the list of who stopped at your trade show booth.

Here are a few tips for getting the best possible leads into your trade show displays!

Quality Leads Mean ROI On Your Trade Show Displays

  • Don’t forget to use a great booth staff! Obviously, the better the team doing the work in the trade show booth, the better your results will be. Be sure to include staffers trained in different aspects of your business; sales, customer support, and engineering – your visitors are going to come from different disciplines, and will also be in different stages of the buying cycle, with different questions and concerns. Be sure to include male and female staffers – some clients open up better to one gender or another, and some people are more comfortable approaching a mixed group, rather than approaching the equivalent of a football offensive line – a wall of men in suits. Your booth staff should practice good ways to engage and qualify visitors in advance of the show – and always include 1 or 2 newbies in the team – you need to keep training people to fill this role, as older more experienced booth staffers move up and or out of your organization.

  • Raffles make for poor leads. Yes, having a contest or raffle or such at your trade show booth will get you a LOT of leads… but most of them have absolutely no interest in you outside of wanting to win something for free. Contests are good PR, but don’t count on them for good lead generation. Instead, either have a contest but screen participants to generate leads, or if you can, refine the contest to only include propects that you invite to participate. These methods may cut down on the number of entries, but the leads will all be people that you want to get to know.

  • Talk to people directly. The simplest way to assess the interest of a potential lead is to talk to them directly. This is why customer/staff interactions at a trade show booth are so vital: it’s how you know who’s a good candidate and who isn’t. Have an experienced staffer chat with them, to find out enough about them to gain a feel if they are a good prospect. Don’t let people just sign up for your mailing list without talking to them first.

  • Rank your leads in the moment. Yes, it’s a little creepy, but immediately after talking to someone, you should make a note of how likely you think they are to convert. A simple letter-grading system will make it easy for Sales to go after the best catches first. Having a smartphone or tablet to keep notes is a fine way to do this, since you can do it unobtrusively.large counter top with ipad insert

  • Separate the thinkers from the doers. One thing you should try hard to discern in your interactions is whether someone is personally empowered to make a purchase, or if they’re wandering through all of the trade show displays, just gathering information for a higher-up. You’ll do your Sales team a big favor by doing this at the show, allowing them to fine-tune their pitch on the first try.

  • Make your visitors work, just a little. If you’re going to have a DIY signup area in your exhibition stands, such as a trade show iPad kiosk, don’t just have an open guestbook. Have a short film, or an interactive demo, or a game, with a “would you like to learn more?” segment at the end. This is a great way to separate out those with real interest from those who are just collecting swag or even just information.

  • Don’t forget social media leads. Someone who’s inspired to Like you on Facebook or Check In on FourSquare during the trade show event is likely going to be a pretty good lead. Even if you can’t speak with these people directly, use their social comments to gauge their interest and include them in your lead lists.

  • and above all, Don’t Forget To Follow Up! It’s amazing to see how many businesses spend lots of money to attend a trade show, and then “forget” to follow up on some or all of their leads…they’d be better off to donate the money to a charity!

The way you utilize your leads will likely determine whether your trade show display was a success or failure. Cultivate your leads carefully for maximum returns on your investment.

For more, read how to squeeze quality out of leads or how to speed date prospects.

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