How to Talk to Prospects, Capture and Qualify Leads at a Trade Show

Get ready, because it’s almost (marketing) game time! Now that you have a trade show strategy in place, it’s time to gather up the company reps, board the plane, and grow your business. 

A trade show is a prospect gold mine. Heading into the convention center with a plan of action can yield excellent results for your brand.

Once the booth is set up and the team has been given their pep talk, the exhibit hall doors open. Trade show attendees pour into the center and make their way to your booth. It’s a great start and a positive result of your pre-show marketing initiatives and fun giveaway selection

The next step, however, can be a bit challenging: talking to prospects and identifying the leads. No worries, though. We’ve provided some tips on how to talk to your booth prospects, capture and qualify leads who can enhance your business network. 

How to Talk to Prospects

When it comes to engaging with your booth visitors, niceties such as “Hello, how are you?” and “Great city for a conference, right?” will only get you so far in meaningful conversation. The focus of your one-on-one with a prospect should be about asking the right types of questions. 

Your questions can make all the difference and help you identify a lead. Take a look at this sequence of questions that can steer the conversation to your desired result. 

Opening Questions

Your opening questions are just what you think they are: questions that help you determine the prospect’s needs and objectives, challenges, and gauge their level of brand recognition. Some example questions include: 

  • What are you hoping to get out of the trade show?
  • Can you describe some of the challenges you’re experiencing with your current product/service?
  • Have you heard of our brand or product/service before?

Investigative Questions

After you’ve heard your prospect’s answers, now is the time for more probing-type questions. What you learn here can help you identify the prospect as a potential lead. Example investigative questions include:

  • What product/service are you currently using? What do you like and dislike about it?
  • How much are you looking to spend?
  • What are your top three must-haves for a product/service?

Demonstrative Questions

During your presentation, ask questions that will keep the prospect or lead involved. It can help you measure their interest in the product/service and allow you to hear their feedback. Some demonstrative-type questions to try:

  • What do you think of our product/service capabilities?
  • How does it compare to the one you use now?
  • Do you have any concerns or questions regarding our product or service?

Closing Questions

Closure is beneficial in many situations but especially marketing and sales. Good closure questions should encourage a follow-up action for the prospect or lead. Here are some examples:

  • How do the decision-makers in your company decide which vendors to use?
  • What else would be important information for you to know?

If they’re expressing extreme interest to learn more…

  • Can I set up an appointment with you to further discuss our product/service solutions that I think will enhance your company’s objective?

On-site conference rooms can help boost your lead-gen goal success. A private meeting area will allow your team to provide additional capabilities exposure and brainstorm a customized solution for the interested prospect. If you don’t have one available at the trade show, make sure you get their contact information (with their blessing, of course) to set up a future appointment date. 

How to Capture and Qualify Leads

Technology is a great way to create buzz around your booth. Not only is it more interactive for your visitors, but it’s also an excellent tool for capturing and qualifying leads. 

Lead capture technology can provide a great return for companies investing in a trade show. A simple way to capture leads is through QR codes. These 2-D matrix barcodes are often found on event name badges, making it easy for reps to scan and capture visitor information. 

Using this data, companies can later analyze their booth’s traffic performance, sort leads, and leverage this insight to enhance their strategy at the next trade show. 

Trade show merchandise with printed QR codes can get visitors more engaged so they may take the next steps, such as submitting information on a lead form, browsing products or services on a landing page, watching a video or presentation, and more.  

Post-Show Marketing Actions

Reaching out to your leads is a must. Give your contacts some time to get settled at the office before sending your follow-up, but don’t sit too long on it. Be sure to send a lead-nurturing campaign as soon as possible while the lead is still hot. 

Maximizing your post-show marketing can go a long way toward achieving a positive return on your trade show investment. Your follow-up can determine your conversion success, and a well-crafted email can help with that. Make sure it’s customized for each lead. 

When writing your email, remember to clearly state who you are, what company you work for, and the trade show where you two met. Need inspiration? Here’s an example below. 

Trade show lead follow-up email:

Hello [lead name],

It was a pleasure to meet you at [trade show event name]! I hope you enjoyed the keynote speaker and learned a lot at the breakout sessions. 

You mentioned that [lead’s company] is looking to [lead’s pain point], so I wanted to reach out to further discuss how [your company] can help you with your objective. 

I’d love to set up a call with you to answer your questions and chat about the next steps. Do you have time this week for a 15-minute call? I look forward to hearing from you. 

Thank you,

[your name & contact info]

Measuring the success of your trade show is determined by how you met your marketing objectives. Review the goals you’ve set for your team before the big day and keep them in mind when chatting up prospects. Converting prospects to leads and leads to customers shows great success and can help you determine which shows are worth returning to the following year!

Before you can talk to your prospects and capture potential leads, you need to drive trade show attendees to your booth! See our infographic below on how to do just that.

Share our Infographic

trade show traffic leads infographic

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