The days of manual lead sheets and collecting business cards are over. Just like every other aspect of the trade show world, technology is changing the way exhibitors record their prospects’ contact information. Devices like smartphones, tablets, kiosks, and bar-code scanners have changed the game when it comes to collecting and organizing this content, making it quicker and more accessible than ever.
Exhibitors should note that just because this tech is improving the timeliness of the recording process, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s increasing the quality. The truth is, even as these databases becomes more intuitive and automated, there’s still a lot of manual work that needs to be done.
Face-to-face marketing is about creating and sustaining relationships between people. When your staff is interacting with an attendee at your booth, it’s vital to create a feeling of comfort, reliability, and trust. In order to follow-up with a prospect in a way that proves you value the relationship, you’ll need to collect detailed information about your exhibit interaction.
Make sure your booth staff is given specific guidelines when it comes to documenting each interaction. What are the attendee’s unique needs? What products or service are they most interested in? Your brand ambassador should be making constant mental notes and including those details in your company’s lead recording system.
Imagine your first follow-up phone call with a high-quality prospect. Which conversation would you rather have?
“So Jim, you told us at the trade show that you were interested in product X, Y, and Z…”
“So Jim, tell me what you need again?”
During follow-up, don’t exasperate your prospect with questions they already answered at your booth — this will annoy them and devalue the relationship. When you call a prospect, it should feel as if the conversation at the exhibition never ended. You should have enough information in your database to jump right back in. This small gesture proves you take your customers seriously and that your brand ambassadors are thoughtful when documenting their interactions.
Technology Can Fail
If you’re solely using an electronic database for lead collection, it’s important to have a back-up plan if things go wrong. Without one, your staff will be vulnerable to IT issues and potentially let new prospects slip through their grasp. Even though electronic lead collection will most likely be your go-to solution, inform you staff on your back-up plan just in case.
Most large trade shows and conventions will offer some sort of lead generation system — most often, it consists of the simple process of scanning people’s badges. This is a great resource when it’s available, but never rely on it as your only method of lead collection. Smaller exhibitions might not offer this solution, so it’s important that your company has it’s own alternative if that’s the case.
Even when a convention does supply exhibitors with a lead collection system, it’s important to make sure it’s compatible with your company’s database. If not, you’ll have to spend time and money altering and formatting their information when the trade show is over.
Not only should your staff be skilled at attracting and interacting with attendees, they should be adept with your company’s lead collection methods. This is critical to your success during follow- up. When the opportunity to record an interaction arises, your staff should be equipped to quickly record the information while it’s still fresh in their minds.
During your pre-show meetings with your exhibit staff, refresh them on your methods, guidelines, and expectations for lead collection and management. Emphasize the importance of documenting even the smallest of details from each interaction. These details will prove invaluable during the follow-up process by not only saving you time, but proving that you truly value the relationship with your customers.