If you want your business to be successful at trade shows, you better have a great system for getting trade show leads.

Trade shows present a great opportunity to get your business in front of industry leaders, to network, or get the latest happenings in your industry.

But, they can be expensive to attend. Companies spend about $12 billion a year on trade show marketing. The travel costs, along with attendance and booth costs can add up and take a sizable portion of your marketing budget.

If you want that investment to generate a return, you need to know how to collect and follow up with sales leads while you’re at the trade show.

Read on to learn how you can create sales from trade shows.

Trade Show Goals

When you decide to invest in having a trade show presence, you have to be clear about what your objectives are.

What would make the trade show investment successful — the number of trade show leads collected or the number of sales closed? Would the trade show be a success if you got one on one time with an industry leader?

Take the time to define your top three objectives at the trade show to make sure your investment is worthwhile.

You also need to be sure the trade show is a good fit for your business and the demographics of the attendees match your target market.

Trade show organizers tend to have this information readily available for prospective sponsors. You can also get a good sense of what kind of solutions attendees are looking for.

Book the Best Spot

Trade shows are all about traffic. When you pick the right one to attend, you want to book your booth space as soon as possible.

Your booth space should be in a strategic location. Think about how the traffic will flow at the trade show and book a space in a high traffic location.

Corner booths and booths near food stations tend to see more traffic than other locations. If there’s a place where a band is playing, you want to be away from that because it will get too loud.

Bring the Right Staff

Having an intern work at the trade show booth probably isn’t the best idea. You want your best and brightest staff to work the booth.

They need to be engaging and enthusiastic. They also have to have product knowledge.

You don’t want to bring salespeople who are just going to sit behind a table staring at their phones all day. All that will do is make the wrong impression.

Collect the Right Trade Show Leads

If you want to use the trade show to boost sales, you need a way to qualify your leads.

Trade shows are great for people who aren’t interested in buying, but they love to collect free stuff. Your job is to decide which people are ready to do business versus the ones that just want swag.

You can have a qualifier in place like a sign-up for a free trial or consultation and then give them a shirt or swag as a bonus.

Be a Presenter

One way to get in front of your prospects is to be a speaker or presenter at the trade show. This will give you and your company credibility and establish you as an authority.

There are usually speaker opportunities from keynote addresses to workshops. You do need to contact the organizers well in advance to book a speaking arrangement.

Make Your Booth Fun

If your primary goal is to increase brand awareness, then you need a way to stand out from the crowd in a big way. Games and giveaways are great ways to do that.

The idea is to have a game that generates buzz that’s aligned with your brand. For example, if your product is a soccer training tool, you want to have a game that’s related to soccer, not baseball.

The Importance of Following Up

You can get the best and most promising leads at a trade show. But, if you don’t follow up with them afterward, you wasted your investment.

The easiest thing to do is to create a repeatable system to follow up with people after you attend a conference or trade show.

The first thing you want to do when you return is to enter those leads into your CRM. This will help you track when you’ve contacted leads and the methods used.

The second thing to do is to send a note to remind them who you are, how you can help them, and that it was great to meet them. You can also ask for a follow-up phone call in the coming weeks. It’s likely that your prospects also met with your competitors at the trade show as well so don’t wait to do this.

Remember that they just returned from days away at the office, and they have a lot to catch up on, too. Don’t get discouraged if they don’t respond right away. Wait several days and then follow up again.

In order to stay competitive, you have to follow up. Most salespeople give up after one phone call, but most of the sales happen after the fifth attempt.

Trade Show Leads That Generate Sales

Trade shows are fantastic opportunities to get your company in front of thought leaders in your industry. The networking that happens at trade shows is well worth the price of admission and a booth.

There are many creative ways to capture trade show leads. The only way those leads are turned into sales is by having a foolproof system to use as a follow-up. When you follow up and are persistent about it, you increase your chances to turn those leads into sales.

However you decide to attract trade show leads, we can help you create the perfect booth display. Contact us today to request a quote for your next trade show!

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