The most important thing to remember is at the end of the day you are going to the trade show to grow the business.

That fact can be overlooked frequently with all the chaos and hoopla that goes into attending, exhibiting or participating in a trade show but never lose site of the fact. (Be sure to review the questions to ask before attending a trade show to ensure it’s the right move for your company.)

Today we are going to address how to get qualified leads from a trade show. Here are the steps you need to take:

1) Plan in advance. Strategy can’t happen at the last minute.

2) Know your goals. You can’t aim and take the shot if you don’t know what you are trying to hit!

3) Offer incredible irresistible value. We aren’t selling, we’re helping.

4) Capture the right information.

5) Do something with the leads immediately!

1) PLAN IN ADVANCE: When strategizing on how to get leads from a trade show the more time you have the better.

It gives you a chance to craft a creative approach and it also allows you to stay focused on the task and not get distracted by last minute flare ups. Finding out the brochures have a typo the week before you leave for the show will naturally take precedence over the lead generating strategy but we all can recognize that it shouldn’t.

So time is a big asset here and the planning should begin from when you book and schedule the show. (See our Ultimate Trade Show Timeline for helpful time frames)

2) KNOW YOUR GOALS: Knowing what you want to accomplish at the show is critical because it’s not always the same or obvious for everyone. There are legitimate goals beyond “generating leads or driving new business” and even generating qualified leads needs to be drilled down and specified.

The more you can narrow down the exact elements that make up a qualified lead for your business or for this specific show the better. Detail the target prospect you are looking for, highlight the kinds of companies they will be coming from, what the average deal size you are looking for, etc…

Once there is clarity over what the goal of the show is more ammunition can be thrown at accomplishing it.

3) OFFER INCREDIBLE VALUE: Just because you are standing in a booth doesn’t mean you can forget the marketing methodology you believe in.

6Don’t turn into a used car salesman or a newspaper hawker even though that might be your first instinct (there is something about watching people walk by your booth that brings that out in everyone!) Remember to put out the honey to draw the bees in.

In this case the bees are the specific goal and lead prospect you are looking for and the honey is whatever will create incredible value for them. What can you offer that will be helpful, informative and ultimately answer the question that are on their head. Just like you they are coming to the show with a set of objectives on their mind.

You are looking to attract the show goers whose objective you and your company match. Then it’s a matter of identifying and solving their problem and using your marketing materials and booth set up to express that.

4) CAPTURE THE INFORMATION: Don’t overlook this seemingly simple step! Actually converting a show attendee into a booth visitor and then into a lead will require that you capture their information.

There will need to be a moment where they give permission for you to get to know them further and contact them after the show. This will be where you get their personal contact details. There are a few ways to do this and I caution you to give some thought to what contact details are the right ones.

Not all details are worth the same and asking for too much will leave you with a high bounce rate so to speak and asking for too little will be hampering your after show follow up efforts.

5) FOLLOW UP RIGHT AWAY: While you are focused on how to get leads from a trade show the real money shot is what you are going to do with those leads after the show. They don’t do anything for you (or your companies bottom line) if they are just sitting in a stack at the corner of your desk when you get back to the office.

There is so much to catch up on after being out of the office for a few days that some how the follow up gets pushed to the end of your task list. While in reality it should be the forefront because you really want to act while the iron is hot and you are still a glimmer of a memory in your prospects mind.

We love to advise that you set up an automated email to go out after a contact form has been submitted – the best bet is to have the prospect fill out their details on an iPad at the booth and then the rest is all automated.

The more strategy, thought and execution that can happen before the show the stronger your efforts will be and ROI from your time at the show will skyrocket. Focus on how to get leads from a trade show and how to get QUALIFIED leads from a trade show by following these straightforward steps that will deliver effective and efficient results.