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Eight secrets for converting trade show leads

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Posted by , 4th June 2019

Eight secrets for converting trade show leads. Solid sales conversion advice from Mike Duseberg in this post from Exhibitors Only

Mike Duseberg drawing crowds and starting the trade show sales conversion process

Trade show exhibitors regularly report two thoughts when it comes to trade show participation:

  1. They know trade shows provide a great opportunity to generate good sales leads
  2. They also know that a great visitor experience should provide the best opportunity to connect with their leads

But how do you transform a show full of attendees into a flood of sales leads?

Here are eight secrets for generating more trade show leads that convert:

1) Systematize everything

Most trade show stands have gaps from which sales prospects leak out. 

Those stands and the people on them don’t stop enough traffic.

Prospects are not engaged, lead information isn’t collected and so good opportunities are missed.  

These gaps can easily be filled by systematizing your trade show stand operation.

This is where prospective clients are carefully led from the aisle to the lead collection area and from there to meet with sales representatives. 

Exhibitors who maintain control of visitor attention throughout their engagement with the stand team achieve significantly more success than those who leave that on-stand experience to chance. 

2) Embrace a direct response strategy

A direct response strategy focuses on getting people to “raise their hand” and to ask “tell me more.” 

Rather than simply hoping that people are getting your message, direct response tells you exactly who got the message and who wants to learn more about what you offer.

Fundamentally, that’s what “prospecting” at a trade exhibition is all about.  

At an event, there can be thousands of people all in one place. All you have to do is get their attention.

Make them an irresistible offer (see #4), and ask them for their contact information so that you can deliver. 

Converting improved numbers of trade show leads depends on and begins with, your ability to effectively deliver your offer to as many people as possible during a show.

3)  Get some crowd attention

Do you know what a good direct response copywriter thinks of first when writing an email?

The subject line: He or she knows if they write a bad subject line, their message won’t be opened, much less read.  

Your booth has to engage visitors in the aisle and make them stop.

Until attendees focus their attention on your stand, you can’t tell them about the outcome they will get by working with your business.

Therefore, you must actively engage aisle traffic and capture attention.

Other stands, other people, games, flashing lights, equipment demonstrations, and the almighty mobile phone can pull them away. 

Using an attraction or crowd builder ensures you get lots of people paying attention to your stand.

And guess what, crowds attract even more people curious to see what all the fuss is about.

4) Make an offer: Lead collection must be an opt-in exercise

If you’re going to make sure that you convert your trade show leads, you need to get your sales prospects to commit to the next step. 

That step could be a high threshold offer like scheduling an on-site consultation or telephone conversation.

Alternatively, you could go for a very low threshold offer like a special report.  

You must collect their information so you can continue to follow-up with them after the show.

5) Make prospects anticipate your follow-up and look forward to hearing from you 

The reason most trade show leads don’t convert is because they aren’t properly positioned for the follow-up calls and emails.

When people leave a business card in your on-stand jar or when they scan their badge to win an iPad, the only call they want is, “Bob, you won the iPad.”  

However, if you embrace a direct response strategy and tell them that the next step will be an information product, a telephone call, or an in-person consultation, the prospect knows what’s going to happen and can anticipate it. 

They want the information, so they look forward to the email or direct mail package. 

Implicitly, they are agreeing to open it or to take the phone call or the in-person visit when they give you their contact information.

6) Make your stand experience memorable

If your prospect doesn’t remember your stand, they won’t know enough about you to take your call or open your email.

Your stand must stand out among the hundreds of others they’ll see at the show. 

An entertaining live demonstration or something unique like a magician, a race car, a game, or a very special giveaway will help make the experience stand-out in their minds.  

Your follow-up calls and emails should reference the booth experience in some way, so you can be sure to jog their memory.

7)  Follow Through with Automation

Surveys have revealed that up to 90% of trade show leads are never followed up on.

Other statistics show that salesmen only make a single follow-up dial to a trade show prospect.  

Automation has to be part of your process. 

Following-up via email is perfect because you can use tracking software to determine who opened your emails, who downloaded your reports, and who is interacting with your company.  

Prioritize these people for follow-up calls and schedule discovery sessions.

These are people who want to hear from you so don’t let them down.

8) Keep everyone in your funnel until they convert or leave

A traditional trade show prospecting strategy is a “one and done” experience.  The prospect either agrees to the follow-up call or they’re out of the system until next year.  

Research shows that about 30% of the leads who convert will do so in the first 90 days after the event.

That leaves a whopping 70% who will remain active in your funnel for twelve months after the show. 

To complete these sales faster and more reliably, you have to keep in touch and keep following up. 

By getting people into your direct response funnel, you can keep in touch with them all year long. 

You can even invite them back to see you next year to see your latest innovations and restart the interpersonal component of your marketing strategy.

It works like magic!

Turning trade show leads into sales prospects is a very simple, straightforward process. 

It isn’t always easy, but the effort required pays off every time.  

About the Author 

Mike Duseberg is dedicated to helping exhibitors connect with more qualified prospects and is fascinated by measurable, accountable, and profitable trade show marketing.

You can download Mike’s new guide to trade show marketing – The Little Booklet that Transforms Your Trade Show Booth into a Lead Generating Machine @ TradeShowFunnel.com

Posted in Trade show engagement  /  Trade show ideas  /  Trade show marketing  /  Trade show sales

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