I’ve been in marketing and sales for the last 20 years and I’ve been to more than my share of tradeshows. One thousand or more and I’m still counting.
Over the years, I’ve found five (5) successful strategies that will help generate more qualified leads. The more qualified the lead, the greater the opportunity for a sale.
Consider Your Target Audience
Start at the get-go. When you’re planning for an upcoming trade show, take time to consider who your target audience really is and key demographic factors. Why are they attending? What can they learn from an event like this? How will they benefit from buying your products or services? Be as specific as possible in determining your prospect’s age, background, job title and how you can help them.
Conduct the Research
Research is crucial in determining a top prospect list and is often overlooked because it takes time. But, in the long run, research actually saves you time. One size does not fit all and you’re not the perfect fit for everyone! We have an almost limitless access to a wealth of online tools and company information. Two of my favorites are Google and LinkedIn. We can go deeper of course and research targeted industry publications, blogs, social media, podcasts, hashtags and more. Ultimately, think about how your prospect’s brand and personality fits with yours to make sure there’s alignment and synergy.
Develop a Prospect List
Now that you’ve spent time doing research, the next step is putting this all on paper. I’m all about keeping things simple and creating spreadsheets. Tracking makes you accountable. What should your spreadsheet look like? Include the company name of who you’d like to work with, their website, possible contact, phone and email. Also include a note section to determine likes and dislikes and other random information which may someday come in handy.
I certainly don’t want to discourage you, but it can take seven or more touch points to get a prospect on the phone before closing a deal. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a stalker. They can be a combination of several tactics; email, a phone call, LinkedIn message, meeting and even a postcard. Mix up the communication and try testing a few different strategies and see what works best. At the end of seven or so attempts and the lead is still cold, walk away and try again in a few months.
Sell the Why
Think about emotional decision factors and sell the why rather than the what. This is critical when it comes to sales and marketing for events and trade shows. Take the time really get to know your prospect needs and motivation and what’s important to them before you discuss what they’re looking for. You can’t listen enough to your prospects and clients!
Finally, does your product or service solve a problem that your target audience is having? Concentrate on your prospect’s and client’s emotional factors when you’re looking to turn a lead into a sale. Emotions drive the decision making process. Recognize them upfront and you’ll be one step ahead of the game and two steps closer to a signed contract.