This scary stat makes us want to cry, scream and bawl out of frustration. We meet a lot of exhibitors and when asked why they attend shows, almost always they tell us it’s because they want to get leads.

If you take nothing further from this post, please make it your mission to not let your attendance add to this horrific statistic. We know you’re way better than that!

As a visitor at a show, how often have you kept track of every exhibitor who has taken your details and vowed to contact you after the show? The truth being that there’s a level of expectation that happens once that transaction has taken place. You expect them to remain true to their word and send through what they have promised. Simple right? Sadly the reality is not so…

After trawling through a sea of exhibits our brains can only be relied upon to recall a few gimmicks and maybe something with a really good message. You won’t remember who took your details so if they don’t seek you out chances are you won’t be doing business with them. If they do eventually make contact but it isn’t timely, you may have already made a purchase or you simply don’t want to do business with them because you don’t feel serviced. Bottom line, lead management is vital to the success of your business. Do it right and you will reap the benefits.

3 common misconceptions (and what to do about them):

“But I use a scanner”
Good for you. If you fall in this category you his value your leads and the speed at which you can access them after the show. These babies should enable you to easily grab visitor details without breaking a sweat. But beware!

  • There will be a percentage of people with incorrect details entered against their badges. We are humans. We make mistakes. Use the opportunity to confirm their details while you qualify them

“I don’t have a problem getting leads. I have loads of leads”
Quality over quantity. Scanning everything that moves doesn’t mean you will have lots of leads.

  • Who is your target? Work this out first and figure out how you can attract them.
  • Clearly define your objectives: How will you define different leads? What information could you tell a salesperson about them that will help them after the show?
  • The best leads are taken near demos/products, they are the ones most interested in your offering

“Our paper based system works just fine”
Yes, you can take down more details, but remember that detail can be daunting to a prospect and also test their patience. People hate feeling trapped.

  • Keep in mind that every additional manual step involved in processing your leads makes it less likely for the contact to be followed up in a timely manner
  • You don’t have another copy. Guard it with your life!
  • It’s very “us v them”. If you must use paper forms, try to make it less like census and more engaging.

The good news about this statistic is that it presents one hell of an opportunity to outshine your competitors. Just because something is easy doesn’t mean people will actually do it. Doing what you say you will isn’t just damn good business practice, people will also think you’re better at your job and most importantly you will bring forward the selling cycle (the reason most of us are actually in business).

Regardless of what lead management system you use, be sure to have a plan in place that includes the KPI’s you want from the show, who will be responsible for overseeing each stage and a lead nurture schedule that has appropriate touch points in place to service those ready now/soon/later. There really is no excuse anymore, even if you don’t invest in renting a lead tracker, companies like Info Salons ( now offer an app for some shows that will have you scanning right from your iPhone. Find something that works for you and do it!