In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, habit #2 is to begin with the end in mind. Covey explains, “If your ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step you take gets you to the wrong place faster.”
With this in mind, let’s look at why companies invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into trade shows. It’s not for branding, networking, or product launch—even though those matter. The true end goal is almost always sales opportunities. Most businesses attend shows to claim all the hot, sales-ready leads.
But sometimes we get distracted and lose sight of our end goal.
Do you sometimes feel that all you’re doing at trade shows is “getting your name out there”? We hear this all the time from exhibitors.
You can have the primo spot on the trade show floor. You can have a flashy booth. You can have the coolest banners and logos. You can have the slickest brochures. You can have the most attention-grabbing booth entertainment. You can be the talk of the show.
But it’s all smoke and mirrors if your processes don’t generate leads that your sales team love.
If you want to go from “getting your name out there” to generating trade show leads that generate revenue, then you need to find out what works and duplicate it.
Reverse Engineering Your Best Salespeople
Design your trade show lead capture process by “reverse engineering” your best sales people. Here’s how you start.
Find the answers to these questions:
- What do your best salespeople consider a smoking hot lead?
- What do your best salespeople consider a garbage lead?
- What questions do your best salespeople ask in face-to-face conversations?
- How do your best salespeople know when a lead is a waste of their time?
- What pieces of information do your best salespeople require in order to re-engage with speed and relevance?
After finding those answers, ask yourself these questions:
- Does our trade show lead capture system accurately reflect the conversation of our best salespeople?
- Does our trade show lead capture system ask the same kinds of questions our best salespeople would ask?
- Is our lead capture system designed to consistently generate quality leads that our best sales people love?
If the answers to these questions is “no,” then it’s time to reengineer your trade show lead capture process. Take what your best salespeople do to find the hottest leads and start replicating them in the booth.
- Based off of the earlier questions you asked your best salespeople, make a list of the top questions to ask to qualify leads at shows.
- Make predefined answers to those questions to speed-up the process.
- Use a paper or digital form, or a mobile lead capture solution, to record those answers at the booth.
- Follow up with the most qualified leads (according to the results) first and win more deals!