Face it: you and your competitors are going head-to-head in tradeshow lead generation. But are you really getting the best results you can possibly get?
If your main goal for going to a tradeshow is to generate leads for future sales, you’ll need to focus on that aspect of your tradeshow marketing program to maximize results. Sure, you also have to have other pieces of the puzzle in place, such as branding, messaging, booth function and more, but if your ultimate goal at the tradeshow is to come away with a bag full of good leads, maybe it’s time for a deep dive into what that takes.
Establish what you want for a good lead. What does it mean to you and your team? After all, not just any old person that stops by and kicks a tire in your booth, so to speak, is a lead. Determine what will you accept as a lead by defining what that is – and get very specific.
The first thing you have to know is if the booth visitor uses your product.
Next, find out if they are shopping around for a company that provides what you provide. There’s a good chance since they’re at a tradeshow that was organized to specifically draw a crowd in your market.
Third, determine who is the decision maker. If you’re speaking to that person, great. If not, can the person you’re talking speak for them, or direct you to them?
Fourth, do they have a budget to purchase your product? If they don’t have a budget, they’re not really a prospect. They’re ‘pie-in-the-sky’ at this point. It doesn’t mean they won’t have a budget in the future, but for now, they’re not a hot lead.
Finally, you need to know when they’re going to make that decision. If it’s not some far-off future date, but is closer to today’s date, that gives you all the information you need for a HOT lead.
Once you’ve done all of this, you can safely grade your leads. Or if they don’t pass the “lead” test they may become someone that can make a referral. Or they’re off your list for good if you don’t think they’ll ever lead to any business via a direct lead or referral.
The leads can be graded HOT, WARM or COOL. But frankly, I usually only use HOT and WARM. HOT is obvious: it’s a lead that needs to be followed up on quickly because there is an explicit and stated desire for your product. WARM is probably a little more flexible depending on your product, sales cycle and so forth. COOL may only apply to those that you know the bare minimum: they will at least use your product occasionally but have no immediate interest or desire or budget or you don’t know the decision maker. So this puts them in the COOL pile but given their at least occasional use they are not a DISCARD.
In any event, the better your planning and the more thorough execution on your tradeshow lead generation tactics, the better your results.