A trade show can be a great source of new referrals for your business – or it can be a complete waste of time and money. Protip: pick the former, not the latter.
Here’s what to do to get the most out of your trade show events.
Figure Out Your (Sales) Funnel
Make some hard decisions weeks or even months before the actual trade show. Decide early on how you plan to sort and qualify prospects who come over to your booth. How will you record their information? How will you process requests?
Don’t wait till after the show to sort through prospects. Decide before hand on a system to rate a prospect according to the likelihood of them following through. Then, you’ll know where your priorities are when it comes to courting them after the show is over.
It’s also a good idea to spin up interest by mentioning the show on your blog and via your business social media accounts. Start small and build up the anticipation towards the event.
Keep It Personal
While you’ll need to keep notes on each prospect’s name, contact details, title and company, you might also want to put down notes from any specific conversations you had with that visitor. Record anecdotes — they’ll be massively useful later on when you want to re-establish contact and get a good rapport going. Always ask: what exactly does this prospect want?
Find Your Priorities
After the show, if you’ve gathered smart data, you’ll be able to tell which prospects to contact first. Those who are in the right position and who showed genuine interest are your focus — you can get to the others later. While a hot lead may come from out of nowhere, save your energy for only the most promising prospects.
Craft a Relationship, Don’t Pitch
However you choose to engage with potential customers after the show, remember that your primary goal is to build a business partnership with them. Hold off on the elevator pitch until you’ve had time to get to know them. Find out what problems they’re having so you can help them solve those problems. Start a conversation. Thank them for their interest.
We mentioned social media, and it’s worth revisiting because it can be a powerful yet subtle tool for lead nurturing. With social media, you get the option of accessing your client through many different channels, most of them quite un-intimidating. Keep up your presence and nurture the fledgling relationship. Keep an eye out, too, for other connections that may turn out to be warm leads later on.
Overcome Tradeshow Depression
Sometimes, it takes a while for the benefits of a well-run trade show to manifest. Keep at it and don’t become discouraged if you hit a few walls in the process.
With adequate preparation, a system that allows you to qualify leads continuously and a marketing strategy that cares for potential clients in the long term, trade shows may well become your best marketing tool.
Overcoming Tradeshow Depression cartoon by HubSpot is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License .