In part one of the Trades Show Success by Design series, we addressed Tips for Planning a Successful Trade Show. Now you’re onsite, how do you maximize your time and resources for the most gain?
Forklifts and hand trucks are scurrying off the show floor, final carpet installation is happening and somewhere someone is trying to get their lead retrieval system working on their phone. In minutes the doors will open and it’s showtime!
Qualify your leads.
Every booth staffer is essentially on a sales call. Be friendly and courtesy, yet quickly get to know your booth guest. Open-ended questions about their role and current challenges will help you quickly determine if that person is just visiting or an interested prospect. Even if they aren’t a prime candidate for your business, don’t forget the power of word-of-mouth advertising and networking. They could share your product/service information with someone back in the office or with their colleague at lunch.
Give them something to see or experience.
Once you’ve determined the interest level of your booth guest, be sure they leave knowing what your company offers. Let them experience your brand and the essence of your company through strong storytelling (i.e. video, virtual reality, etc…) and personable interactions. Do you have equipment to demo? Be sure subject matter experts are nearby to share its features and benefits. Consider having a different level of promotional items for different levels of prospects.
Make new friends but keep the old.
According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), lead generation is 80-85% of the reason for companies to exhibit at a trade show. But, it also affords valuable face-to-face time to meet with current customers and prospects in the sales cycle. It could take a salesperson three days to travel and meet with several customers and prospects, but only one day or less at a trade show! Nurturing relationships should not be underestimated in the buying cycle. Maximize your hours at the trade show from morning coffee meetings to booth appointments and evening dinners.
Maximizing your booth to convey who your company is and what it offers is key for successful conversations. But, it’s the conversations that will turn leads and prospects into future business. It’s like a poker game – know when to hold them and know when to fold them.
Part 3: Trade Show Lead Follow Up Basics