We recently completed a survey where we asked you all what your single biggest challenge was in generating leads at trade shows. The results were extremely insightful.

I want to hit these key issues head on. It’s a monster topic and difficult to tackle without diving into individual scenarios, but I hope this cheat sheet inspires and motivates you to get on the other side of these statistics.

The most unhinging stat was that 91% of you are still struggling with leads. Whether the issue was attracting the right audience, how to talk to people at the show, tracking and qualifying or producing a follow up program.

All of these individual issues can be solved with a little strategy implementation.
I can’t stand the thought of people complaining about these issues and doing nothing about them.

The statistic I’m most upset about is that 16% of you said you go to a show just to have a presence instead of announcing a new product, taking orders or getting leads.

Another sad one is that only 10% go to take orders. I dream of the day that people will start setting the expectation to place orders. The Europeans do it beautifully and there is no reason why we can’t do it here only that we don’t ask. One of our clients sells $1,000,000 printers (Yep, one million dollar printers!) and they managed to sell three off their stand at the last show. It’s definitely possible. There’s just a bit more groundwork in the lead up to the show.

Infographic Survey Results small

Struggling to get people to the stand?

This could be a few things, reassess the following:

  • Your product or service isn’t in high demand at the show (Wrong show)
  • Poor marketing (Promotion or Key message)
  • Your staff are not engaging visitors correctly (Staffing)
  • Design isn’t driving the right behavior (Poor Design)

Not engaging the right people?

This is common enough and a lot of people I speak to struggle in this area. I find that there are many contributing factors that can make a difference here, but there is a formula you can use to ensure you’re getting the best result possible.

Address the following to get things moving in the right direction:

Having trouble tracking leads?

  • Not getting people to enter details? (Engagement issue or lead tracking method not right for you)
  • People are getting annoyed with you (Too many questions in your qualification process)
  • Getting too many people to track effectively (Re-assess your key messaging and giveaways. My bet is you’re pulling people in with a gimmick that everyone wants, rather than your target market. If this is part of your strategy, you are under staffed and/or need a better lead capture system)

Having difficulty qualifying visitors?

  • Set up your key criteria before the show. Don’t get bogged down in too many questions, but think about how you can group your audience into high level clusters
  • If you’re using a fish bowl, stop. Immediately. Same goes for collecting business cards. Unless you have another system to qualify them, these are just names. Not qualified leads.
  • Team aren’t focused or making the most of the event (Staff training needed)

Struggling to get staff to work effectively?

This is a mammoth one.  Hardly anyone in Australia does regular staff training for exhibitions, which is ridiculous because it’s the area that people can see the largest improvements. It isn’t just about body language, but how your staff work together as a team to make the experience for the customer as good as possible.

  • Train staff regularly. Make sure they understand the mission fully as well as the benefits.
  • Know and practice your “Elevator Pitch”
  • Ensure everyone on the stand has a job to.
  • Set targets for them along with some rewards.

Having trouble following up leads?

  • Often the reason why so many leads are not followed up is because they are not quality leads. Does your lead tracking solution allow you to qualify and profile your customers? If your sales team knows someone is a hot lead looking to buy within 2 weeks, it’s a very different type of call.
  • Attracting too many people? (Key messaging and/or Key Attractor Issue). Make your attractor appealing to your target audience so it talks directly to your target clientele.
  • Customize your lead nurture program before you go to the show so when you get back you simply pair the leads with the correct program.
  • Are you ignoring leads because you haven’t allowed enough time for your team to get back to everyone. Exhibitions are time consuming, but compared to the traditional phone call where you might have multiple attempts of catching someone, it’s a more condensed process. Make the most of this by squeezing as much out of it as you can.

What I’ve noticed most is that the people that desperately need to make these changes the most are usually the ones who are complaining the most. These are the same people adamant that exhibitions are just an expensive exercise with little to gain. Interestingly enough, those who have found their “exhibition mojo” tend to get brilliant returns, and think they are the best thing since sliced bread. Which camp will you fall into?

As a business, one of our biggest strengths is working through these hurdles with our clients. There’s a heap to digest in this post!
If you’re having any of the above issues or would like some advice for something that didn’t make the list get in touch here.

Web | Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | Youtube