Trade Show LeadsI would like to share a story passed on from one of our clients about his early days in trade show exhibiting.

As the story goes, our client and his partner were exhibiting at their first show.  Their strategy was simple, just take along a few samples of their products, talk to the attendees and collect business cards in a fishbowl that was placed on a table at the front of their booth.

The show drew a large crowd; the fishbowl was nearly filled with business cards.  They went home feeling that they had completed their mission.  They returned to work and contacted the people who had dropped off business cards.  The problem became apparent immediately.  There was no way from business cards alone to re-connect with the needs of the prospects without starting over at square one.

The first step in preventing your leads from dying of loneliness is to create a lead card.  This simple communication device will accomplish five goals that all point towards a much more successful trade show outcome.  Devote serious time and attention to what goes on the card.  The information must be complete, concise and easily understood by the people who receive the leads after the show is over.

Here are a few ways a well thought-out lead card can add strength to your trade show outcome:

 1. The content can focus the information gathered on your current marketing goals.

2. Provide a clear and actionable description of the contact to those who must provide follow-up (even if it’s you!).  You cannot accurately recall the dozens of contacts that come at you during the show.

3. Help to give a standardised structure to the booth staff’s communications with guests.

 4. Generate immediate ROI measurement with daily results. 

5. Assess booth staff performance with objective, quantified data.

As soon as possible after each show go over what worked and what needs improvement to make the card a better, easier-to-use tool.  Be sure to review the lead card periodically to be sure that it stays relevant to your exhibiting mission and goals.

Finally, don’t forget to provide a means to quickly deliver the leads to those in charge of follow-up.

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