By Chris Rowe
Occasionally, I’ll read a really great article on LinkedIn or a blog post by an associate in the trade show business about what sounds like a new and fantastic idea to attract attendees into the trade show booth. I’ll daydream a bit about what it would take to pull it off. I’ll wonder if it would work for our booth. I’ll wonder if it would truly generate good leads. And then . . . I’ll wonder if it worked for THEM. Drawing a big crowd to your booth is exciting. An active booth feels energizing and smells like success. But does it actually mean that you’re having a profitable show?
There are countless ways to get people into your booth. We’ve even blogged about loads of them – games, giveaways, signups, competitions – and they all work to draw a crowd and collect names. But after the show, when you take that fishbowl full of names and hand it off to sales, how many end up being qualified leads? How many just wanted the cool stress ball?
Here are a few ideas to help you make sure you’re making the most of your booth traffic.
*CHECK WITH YOUR SALES TEAM
So, how do you even tell a hot lead from someone who just wants the giveaway? Tap your sales team beforehand and ask them what information THEY would like to have from potentials. That way, your booth staff isn’t wasting its time asking the wrong questions and getting useless answers. Find out what looks like a great prospect to your sales team, and teach your staffers to identify them.
*MAKE YOUR GIMMICK COUNT
If you’re going to bother to have a gimmick, make it reflect your brand, promote your mission statement, really illustrate who you are. This might take a little more brain power on the front end, but it’s going to permanently connect your company to that gimmick. That means that in the mind of the attendee, it’s permanently connected. Another feature that connecting your brand to your gimmick offers is that if someone is definitely NOT interested, they won’t bother with it. While you won’t be getting that business, you also won’t be spending time and energy on someone who doesn’t need what you have.
*ENGAGE YOUR VISITORS
The best way to determine if your visitor might make a good lead is to engage. Determine their pain point. Why are they here? What do they need? How can you fill that need? Finding the answers to these questions will gain you access into the attendees’ motivations and will help you determine the next step. Once you see the larger vision of the company’s needs, you can ask more specific questions related to actually filling those needs.
*MAKE A GOOD IMPRESSION
Not everyone who visits your booth will walk away with a purchase, but everyone who visits your booth will walk away with an impression of you, your staffers, and your company. Make it a good one. Take the time to exchange names and ask questions. Expend the effort to be kind, to be helpful even if they aren’t interested in your company. Even mentioning a great restaurant you ate at last night or another company’s cool display you admired goes a long way toward building rapport and making a positive lasting impression.
Instead of trying to do everything in the booth the day of, plan ahead to meet and greet key clients at a separate mixer. Schedule coffee with that particular client you want to connect with. Having a plan of attack will keep you from scrambling during the trade show. And the last thing you want to be is stressed out and frantic the one time you need to be calm and collected. Having a plan helps you relax into the event and be able to really enjoy and connect with clients and potentials.
Here’s to a great trade show season and some terrific qualified leads!
This article was inspired by "Trade Show Strategy: Getting Leads" by Chris Rowe, and first appeared at www.skyline-etips.com/