When you attend a trade show, one of your main objectives for attending is to generate quality leads for your sales team. However, did you know that just 6% of marketers believe their company converts trade show leads into customer business extremely well? For how much time, thought, and effort goes into planning booths and exhibits at trade shows, that number is extremely low for the confidence that marketers have in converting leads into sales.
Having worked with thousands of events, we have noticed firsthand that exhibitors struggle with converting leads into sales. We have a few proven techniques that will help you optimize your leads at your next trade show event.
This solution will work, but it will require work and effort on your part to implement these strategies into your own work.
Before the event:
1. Have a clear objective in mind
Know your goal before you show up at the expo. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, but know that you should have one clear, concise goal that each member of your team attending the show can repeat from memory.
2. Create an email drip campaign
Surprised to see this on the list in the “Before the event” section? You shouldn’t be. Before you take off for the expo, create an email drip campaign that aligns with your goal. If you write the content before you go, you can simply plug in the leads that you gather and have consistent messaging across the whole trade show experience.
3. Create free content of value
As a part of your trade show planning meeting, decide on a valuable offering that you can send your leads for free.
First of all, this will help you collect their contact information in the first place since you have an enticing offer for them. Secondly, it will help you build rapport and goodwill with prospective clients since people love receiving content of value for free. And finally, it is a natural way to follow up with your leads. You can start your conversation up where you left it and check in to make sure the info you sent them makes sense.
Once again, this content should align with your main objective. You may already have some content like this built out that you can use, or if you don’t you can take the time to build compelling content. This could be an ebook, industry-specific calendar, report, scorecard, industry comparison, or any other content that makes sense for your audience. At the event:
4. Collect digital info
We live in a world where physical paper sheets are a seriously endangered species. Many people still carry business cards around with them at trade shows, but you will find that many of the attendees don’t carry business cards anymore.
If possible, use the QR codes from their name badges to simple scan onto your phone. All you need is a QR code scanning app and you can collect their information. When the event is over, you can simply upload the excel sheet into your email system and start emailing your new leads.
Not only will this help you capture more leads, but it will save you a lot of time and help you reach your contacts fast. If the event you are exhibiting at doesn’t use QR codes, reach out to the event producer and ask them to include this functionality at future events so you can easily capture and contact leads.
5. Set up a call on the spot
Don’t wait until after the show to send an email asking when your new lead can talk. Instead, set up calls on the spot. This is easier if you have the right tools in place. You can use tools like Calendly, Doodle, or Cirrus Insight to easily set appointments on the spot.
The meeting should automatically be added to their calendar with any of these tools and will help you keep appointments better. Have one of your team members there to walk them through the process and correctly set up a date and time when they can meet.
6. Email contacts that night
If you aren’t able to schedule a call on the spot, reach out to your contacts that very same day. The longer you wait to reach out to your contacts, the less likely they will be to respond to your outreach.
As you get more sales calls scheduled, you’ll see a greater ROI from trade shows.
After the event:
7. Make your trade show leads a priority
Make it clear to your sales and marketing teams that the leads you collected from the tradeshow take priority over other leads coming in. Set the expectation that they will be contacting these leads and building relationships with them.
8. Send out a care package
Determine the top leads that you would like to close and send them a package in the mail. People enjoy getting mail and a clever, yet useful package will help keep you top of mind.
9. Warm cold leads
Sometimes leads don’t convert right away. It’s a fact of life. But just because a lead doesn’t convert right now, doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in your product. To make sure you are getting the most out of your leads, immediately add them to your drip campaign to keep constant contact with them.
You can also enlist the services of companies like Aktify to warm your cold leads. They will help you find the leads that are still interested in your product and help you close the leads that you thought were lost.
If you follow these nine steps, you will see more leads turn into sales from your expo lead gen list.