Your Investment in Attending Trade Show and Industry Events Is Made More Effective When There Is Proper Preparation and Follow- Up.
If you’ve ever attended a major trade show or industry event, then you are familiar with the constant grabs for your attention coming from exhibitors’ booths.
Depending on the event, there may be magicians, performers, and games to pull you in. Even at shows without the gimmicks, there will be a multitude of businesses vying for the attention of the attendees.
People in attendance are there to interact and meet with colleagues, with customers, with vendors, with job prospects. There are all kinds of reasons to be there, and most people find they have a lot of things tugging at them in many different directions.
With an entire show going on in the background, it takes planning and preparation if you want to be able to get in front of real prospects and generate qualified opportunities.
Calling in Advance of a Trade Show
The best way to ensure meaningful interactions – even a five-minute conversation – is to make calls in advance to priority targets from the attendee list.
Failing to connect before an event, and instead rely on your prospects passing by at the right time noticing what it is that you have to offer, is a common mistake and should be avoided.
If you want to walk away with real, qualified opportunities, then you have to make calls in advance and put meetings on the calendar.
Why You Should Outsource Your Pre-Trade Show Calls
Outsourcing your calls ensures that it will get done, and it will get done right.
Trying to fit in making calls with all of the other pre-show preparation and day-to-day business activity is extremely difficult, and so most of the time it falls to the bottom of the list and just doesn’t get done.
Choosing to outsource to a dedicated and experienced B2B lead generation firm means that the calls will be made and will be made by those who are experts at this type of lead generation.
It makes good sense to have people making the phone calls who have done it before – many times, and for many organizations – and can apply their proven skill set, as well as focus the time and attention needed to make the volume of calls necessary.
Is it necessary to have a dedicated team to set up appointments? Yes.
If your goal is to make the meetings, create the meaningful interactions, and leave a trade show with some real qualified opportunities in hand, then many calls have to be made in advance.
In my experience, and there are certainly many variables that go into a call list, advanced calls are going to result in a 5% success rate for scheduling meetings.
If you want to get in front of prospects that could potentially use your business product, service, or solution, that means 100 calls for every five meetings.
Some of our larger clients attend trade shows with upwards of 60 appointments with key evaluators and decision makers set up in advance – that translates into thousands of calls made before the show starts. Is it worth it?
Feedback from our clients tells us yes. The meetings lead to opportunities beyond the trade show booth, which can lead to closed sales.
Another upside to making this volume of calls in advance is that sometimes a prospect won’t be able to take a meeting at the trade show, but they do know of an active initiative to pursue the type of solution or product you are selling. In this case, you’ve now gotten their attention and a meeting can be scheduled for another time.
Successfully network at your next event or trade show with these proven methods: 7 Ways to Successfully Network at Trade Shows or Industry Events
If you are a veteran of any of these types of industry events, you know that you will leave your booth with the names and contact information of everyone who stopped by and had their ID scanned (if you date back to the last century, you remember this used to be done with a fishbowl and business cards).
You leave the show with the contact information of those that were kind enough to stop by your booth. Will you take the time needed to contact those people?
Chances are that of the hundreds of names you collect at your booth, 10-20 will stand out as qualified opportunities where the relationships have been initiated on the trade show floor. These are the beginnings of real leads that can now be pursued by sales reps. That is a solid performance and will hopefully lead to some closed deals.
After the top 20, there are contacts made that were not developed to the same extent but can also yield terrific, qualified leads. However, this will only happen if you consistently make the calls and follow-up with them.
Why You Should Outsource Your Post-Trade Show Calls
If you don’t outsource to a dedicated B2B lead generation team, the bulk of the calls after the show will simply not get made.
And by not making those calls you will be missing out on some real opportunity.
Following up and calling that captured audience is a great way to generate opportunities. If you have a team take the time to call ALL of the people who were scanned, you will find that there are leads in there.
You have a list of people who have stopped by your booth and have some familiarity with you. A call to them could be gold.
Attending trade shows and industry events is good business, and your presence there will be worthwhile. To maximize your ROI, however, means the right preparation and follow-up – and for that outsourcing to a team of dedicated callers is essential.
What are the advantages of outsourcing your calls to the experts? 5 Reasons Outsourced Teleprospecting is Key to B2B Sales Success
Outsourcing Your Pre- and Post- Trade Show Calls Ensures Success
What sort of success have you had with trade show preparation and follow-up? How do you ensure the calls get made to the right people? Please leave me a note in the comments.
Editor’s note: Originally published in 2016, this blog has been edited and updated in November 2018.