15 Ways to Collect Leads at a Tradeshow

Tradeshows are one of the best ways to put your service or product out there for the world to see. In fact, 41% of companies see event marketing as the most effective method for generating new leads.

Lead generation is crucial for any business; after all, no individual or organization can turn into a customer without first becoming a lead.

Generating new leads is even more important for businesses who are frequent tradeshow exhibitors, in order to compensate for the often high costs of exhibiting.

So, without further ado, let us dive right into the best ways of collecting leads at a tradeshow.

How to Collect Leads at a Trade Show?

1) Create the Right Team:

Even though all your employees belong to the same industry, each tradeshow has different demographics and target audiences. It is important to analyze these demographics and prepare an exhibition team accordingly. Titles and regions within your company are a good place to start – ideally, your team should speak the same language as your prospect or client.

While picking your team, consider the people who are:

  • Enthusiastic about the whole event
  • Excellent communicators
  • Willing to be team-players
  • Exude positivity

A technical person might be able to answer all the technical questions; but, if they do not have adequate people skills, their technical knowledge is unlikely to be of much use on the booth.

2) Prepare a Lead-Generation Plan:

If you do not know what it is that you hope to achieve, you are unlikely to have much success come game time. Hence, it is important to formulate an elaborate plan where you list down the number, type, and quality of leads that you hope to generate. Also, while establishing these goals, also come up with the strategies that you can implement to achieve them. For instance, you could organize competitions or conduct giveaways. Make sure to keep your plan realistic.

3) Brief the Staff:

Refresh your company’s knowledge about the product that you offer and the problem that it solves, so that everyone in your staff is on the same page with regards to the marketing and messages. Also include people who might not be on the tradeshow site but could still influence your message and, by extension, lead generation through social media or emails.

4) Understand the Tradeshow Environment:

The importance of a tradeshow as a business opportunity can never be overstated – the event might enable you and your team to meet more potential clients in a week than you might otherwise do in an entire year.

However, at the same time, a tradeshow is not your usual sales environment, and it is unlikely that you will be able to sign multimillion-dollar agreements then and there. What you will be able to do, though, is establish close connections with prospects who are scouring the market for a product or service like yours. In other words, a tradeshow is an excellent way to execute multiple steps of the sales cycle without having to go through the gatekeepers before reaching the primary decision makers.

5) Less Digital; More Print:

We understand the temptation to print content-heavy brochures; however, more often than, not, your prospects will chuck those brochures into the bin without reading beyond the first page.

Also, keep in mind that companies and customers are focusing on environmental friendliness, which is why you should do your best to save paper. This means utilizing social media, USB platforms, and QR codes wherever possible. You want your company to be remembered for the right reasons.

6) Sort the Tech Out Beforehand:

Never, ever depend upon the tradeshow WiFi – not only is the internet low bandwidth, but the same connection is going to be used by hundreds or even thousands of people at the same time, further impairing its strength. Every piece of tech that you use for your footfall tracking, lead generation, demonstrations, and other purposes, should have a dedicated internet connection.

You could also consider using apps that work both online and offline.

7) Ensure that Your Team Uses the Sales Process Effectively:

The entire tradeshow sales process takes around six minutes:

  1. Greet and Engage – approximately 30 seconds
    • Ask open-ended questions to take control of the narrative
  2. Qualification – approximately 90 seconds
    • Ask questions pertinent to the visitors’ problem/situation
    • Ask questions pertinent to the product or service you offer
    • Ask qualifying questions
  3. Timewaster v/s qualified lead:
    • If timewaster, dismiss within 15 seconds; shake hands, and thank them for taking the time for visiting your booth
    • If qualified, move on to the fourth step
  4. Product demonstration – between two and four minutes:
    • Conduct a product or service demo, outlining the key features and aspects pertinent to the visitor’s problem or situation
    • Do NOT simply ramble about how great the product or service is
  5. Close – approximately 90 seconds
    • Make the visitor fill a lead form
    • Schedule an appointment to meet them
    • Exchange business cards

If your on-site team can maintain the above discipline, every representative, on average, five to six leads every hour that you are on the booth. This translates to 40-48 leads, assuming an 8-hour show day. Multiply this by 5 (assuming that you have 5 people on the team), and you can have over 200 potential leads.

8) Ensure that Your Staff Displays the Right Body Language:

As far as body language goes, the below points will help you display the right one:

  • Remember to make and maintain eye contact with the visitors
  • Show enthusiasm
  • Smile
  • Display an open body language – keep an open and inviting expression, and avoid crossing your arms or legs
  • Do not give any attendee a reason to not visit your booth
  • Listen – show genuine interest in what your visitors have to say, and do not interrupt them

9) Have a Smooth Process for Capturing Leads:

Ideally, you should be using a digital system for lead capturing – whether the system belongs to a third party or to the show organizers themselves, does not matter.

Scanners can often be complex, which is why we recommend going for a comprehensive app that not only helps you record your leads but also follow-up on your interaction with a personalized email message.

10) Make the Booth Stand Out from the Crowd:

Most exhibitors do not appreciate the role that their booth designs play in generating leads. While creating an attractive stall might not directly help you capture leads, it can certainly assist you in increasing the footfall. The more attendees you lure, the more leads you can potentially capture and convert into customers.

Your stand should be sufficiently ‘welcoming’ for visitors so that they are encouraged to stop by and learn more about what you have to offer. The key is to provide information that is essential for your visitors and deliver a premium event experience.

11) Dismiss Irrelevant Visitors:

Irrelevant visitors can include:

  • Unqualified visitors wasting your time
  • Unqualified visitors who are not in line with your target market
  • Qualified visitors with whom you seem to have exhausted every possibility
  • Your rivals
  • People from other booths looking for some chit chat

Dismissing a visitor need not be hard or awkward; you can get it done by:

  • Making eye contact with the visitor
  • Shaking their hand
  • Thanking them for visiting the booth

Keep in mind that you have six to eight hours on any given show day, and it is vital to make the most of every minute. You have spent good money to book a spot on this show, which means that time literally is money for you. Think about the number of relevant customers who might have walked by while you were busy dealing with irrelevant visitors or indulging in chit-chat with people from surrounding booths.

12) Use Games and Competitions:

Earlier, we mentioned a premium event experience – and enjoyable games, contests, and activities are certainly an integral part of it. Most attendees do not mind sharing information while they are enjoying themselves or have their eyes on a prize.

You can, for example, organize a raffle and distribute a prize (gift certificates or a goody-bag) for any participant who drops by and fills your card out. Similarly, you could arrange ‘treats’ for any attendees who visit your booth and fill-out a registration form.

13) Advertise Your Presence:

Earlier, we touched upon the importance of email and social media marketing in maximizing booth traffic – but we feel that this warrants a section of its own. Come up with a blog discussing your tradeshow presence, and share it on your website and across all social media channels. Email newsletters can help potential clients learn more about the show, including the date and venue, and where your stall will be located.

These advertisement efforts will encourage prospective clients to actively search for you on the tradeshow floor.

14) Conduct Live Presentations:

One of the best ways to attract a crowd to your booth is to conduct a product demonstration or live presentation. However, a demo or presentation will only be effective if it is interactive and involves the audience. Other than that, the entire thing should not last for more than 10 minutes.

Below are a few ingredients of an effective tradeshow presentation:

  • A professional and lively presenter
  • An element of enjoyment and fun that your presenter is comfortable with integrating
  • Conducting a show every thirty or sixty minutes so that you have enough time to tell people about and invite them to this presentation
  • The presentation must close with a CTA (Call to Action) – for instance, people who are interested could be asked to fill out a lead card, register for a competition, or talk to your sales representatives

15) Create a Personalized Follow-Up Message:

You might be tempted to create a generic message for all your leads; however, in the world of digital marketing and customization, there is no excuse for being generic. Through the right apps and software, you can automatically transfer all lead data into your CRM. This spares you the hassle of having to enter each prospective client’s information manually, and all you need to do is send individualized messages after the event.

Make sure that you prepare a unique email message mentioning specifics that will jog the recipients’ memory about your company and the interaction that they had. If you do not follow up in the right manner, all the lead-generation efforts discussed above will likely go to waste.

 Final Word:

If you are planning your first event, we hope that the tips discussed in this guide served as a useful reference point. Even if this is not your first rodeo, we hope that the content served as a useful refresher course with a sprinkle of new ideas here and there.

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