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How To Qualify Leads From Trade Show Exhibits

Jun 4, 2008
According to the CEIR (Center for Exhibition Industry Research), as much as 80% of trade show leads never receive any form of follow-up. That's an astounding piece of information, considering that lead generation is the goal for most trade show exhibits.

One reason for these dismal results has to do with the tedious nature of following up on unqualified leads produced from trade show exhibits. Most anyone who has ever had a sales function as even part of their job knows that pursuit of unqualified leads is deadly, soul-depleting, grueling work with little to show for results after all the effort.

There is a better way. The key is to identify and classify hot prospects and the products and services they are interested in buying.

Easy to say, tough to do? Now you can automate certain aspects of this by using one of the new, sophisticated software packages that allow you to identify a half dozen weighted multiple choice questions in advance that will determine how viable a client prospect is. With all of the distractions at trade show exhibits, it helps to have a simple, straight-forward process to streamline and standardize lead qualification.

You need to identify the hot leads, filter out those who are not qualified, and then measure your results. You may find that you need to adjust the questions you ask to improve your lead qualification process at trade shows.

Why do it? This will help you to target qualified sales leads that have the budget, time frame and ability to purchase your product. Your screening strategy not only helps you zero in on qualified leads but also helps you establish stronger relationships with your best clients. And, the improved results your team gets at your trade show exhibits will get noticed. Here's an example of how this works:

* Rank your prospects as "A" (highly qualified), "B" (somewhat qualified), or "C" (poorly qualified) prospect.

* When a prospect arrives at your trade show exhibit, your sales staff will be ready to kickstart the sales process by using the software package to help identify qualified leads.

* Have your sales force follow up on "A" leads immediately the day after the trade show to maximize your profit opportunity from your trade show exhibits.

By earmarking the key prospects, your sales staff should be energized by their success in selling the right products to the right client at the right time. Don't neglect the "B" prospects from your trade show, but follow up with them only after you have mined the hot lead lode.

Measure Your ROI. You will be able to measure the return you get from your trade show exhibits and justify your trade show expense if you carefully track your qualified leads. Measure the results of these qualified leads in every stage from the number and dollar amount of proposals made to monies received from actual sales. Your head of marketing can better justify the trade show expense to the company CEO when showing solid results.
About the Author
Dick Wheeler is President of Professional Exhibits & Graphics, headquartered in Sunnyvale, California with showrooms in Sacramento and Sunnyvale. Find more ideas for getting the most out of your Trade Show Exhibits in the news section on their website.
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