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How Trade Shows Work

        Money | Marketing

The Lead Sheet
To address one of the complaints of sales reps about the contact information not being complete, you can develop a lead sheet that includes spaces for all of the specific information your reps need in order to make a sales call. These sheets should be small enough to fit in a coat pocket, and typically work best in a notepad form. One critical piece of information to add to the sheet is the priority code (or lead assessment). Come up with a simple 3-to-5 level rating system to assess how "hot" this lead really is. Make sure your booth staffers understand and use this rating system when they talk with show attendees.

If you are planning on renting one of the electronic lead-collection systems that gather information from the attendee's swiped nametag, pay the additional costs for customizing the data that it can collect. All of these systems tend to be slightly different, so study the literature well, and make sure you can record as much specific information as possible. If you can't customize the information, it might make sense not to rent one at all and simply use your own lead sheet.

Follow-Up Flow Charts
Before you know it, hot prospects will be cold, and lukewarm prospects will have absolutely no recollection of who you are. Therefore, it behooves you to move quickly with your lead follow-up process. Make sure you have a schedule in place for lead follow-up. This means:

  • Getting fulfillment packages out within five days after the end of the show
  • Allowing two to five days for lead qualification (if you have that option)
  • Allowing no more than two weeks to pass before phone contact is made by your sales reps
  • Getting an initial sales report on the likeliness of a sale
  • Closing the sale
  • Getting the final report of closed sales for the show report

Time spans will vary quite a bit with different products and services, but here's a general overview:

Day 1 Day 5 Day 10 Day 14 Day 30 Day 45 Day 60
Show ends Packages mailed Leads qualified Sales contact Initial sales report Close sales Final report

For more information on trade shows and related topics, check out the links on the next page.