September 18th, 2018
One of the most common goals of a trade show exhibit is lead generation. Finding individuals who are interested, motivated, and empowered to purchase your products and services gives your sales teams the opportunity to earn solid profits for your business. However, leads do not just appear at your booth. While a solid design can attract interest and bring traffic knocking on your proverbial door, you need to put some work in to engage visitors once they are there. Here are a few tips for engaging visitors to your trade show exhibit and generating more effective leads for your business.
Avoid distractions while working in the trade show exhibit.
When visitors first enter your trade show exhibit, they want to feel as if they are the center of your attention. And that means avoiding distractions that will make you seem unavailable. For example, avoid sitting down at all unless engaged in a meeting with a potential client or connection (you can do that on your breaks). Do not eat. Do not look at your phone. Do not busy yourself rearranging products. Instead, be alert, responsive, and available to the individuals coming to your booth.
Keep conversation interesting at the trade show exhibit.
When visitors come to your trade show exhibit, you will need to engage them in conversation right away (although, if you have the right trade show booth design, you should have some interactive things for visitors to do if you are particularly busy). Most importantly, you need to open the conversation with interesting, creative questions that will get visitors thinking and talking, hopefully about how your brand can help them. These questions should be open-ended, and go deeper than “How are you?” For example, consider asking them what their goals are for the trade show, what their current projects are, what drew them to the booth, or other inquiries that pique their interest and open up communication that can lead to a sale.
Use welcoming body language in your trade show exhibit.
When people walk into your trade show exhibit, you want them to feel immediately comfortable and at ease. However good your intentions, though, you may inadvertently be sending them the opposite message by your body language. For example, sitting down, slouching, leaning on the furniture, or crossing your arms are all types of unwelcoming and unprofessional body language. Instead, embrace a positive, welcoming demeanor. Smile at your visitors. Walk around and talk to them. Keep your hands and arms in an open position, and keep your posture straight. When visitors really feel as if you like them and are happy to be talking with them, they will be more likely to open up and explore your business with you.
Keep track of your trade show exhibit visitors and leads.
Of course, having dozens of conversations over the course of the trade show will not mean much if you are unable to produce contact information for those leads at the end of the event. Having a reliable and accurate way to keep track of visitors and leads is essential to enabling your sales team to follow up later.There are many ways to do so. For example, you may simply choose to keep a paper sheet with people’s contact names. At other times, technology like scanning devices might work better. Having people enter their contact information on computers or as part of contests can also be a good way to get lead information for following up. Just make sure you have a way to rank each lead so your sales team can follow up with the strongest candidates first.
Follow up with leads after the show.
Once you have a list of strong leads from your trade show exhibit, you will need to follow up with them. Hopefully, you will have some individuals who have specifically requested a follow up contact or meeting. These are the easy ones–and your sales team should be able to make connections with them easily. However, there may be others, such as those who signed into your booth or entered a contest, who may not be specifically waiting for a callback from you. In these cases, coming up with a reason to reach out to them can be a good idea. For example, is there an event you want to invite them to? A small token of appreciation you can send? Sending along a thank you gift can remind them of your business and perhaps keep the conversation going after the event is over.
Keep everyone on the same lead generation page.
Finally, you may need to consider keeping everyone on the same page when it comes to lead generation for your custom exhibit. For example, does everyone on the team know how to record leads? Have they all received the same training on body language and engaging visitors? Do they all have a list of conversation starters to use? Creating a set of expectations and a process for creating and recording leads can ensure maximum success from your presence at the trade show, while a unified team is more likely to deliver consistently qualified leads through your trade show exhibit. Using your trade show exhibit to its maximum potential means taking the time to engage with your booth visitors. Your work has to go beyond the design of the booth. In your sales and marketing plan, include how you respond to the traffic your trade show booth attracts. When you avoid distractions, make interesting conversation, use welcoming body language, follow up with leads, and keep everyone on the same lead generation page, you can maximize the number of qualified leads you generate, and follow up on, at your next trade show.