6 Tips for Better Lead Generation
at Your Exhibition Stand

Picture of Jakob Dyrbye
Jakob Dyrbye

Last Updated: June 16, 2023

The trade show is always a good place to bring home new and good leads. Unfortunately, many exhibitors still return to the office with unqualified leads. Leads that were never a match in the first place. But what exactly do you need to do? We have gathered our experiences for better lead generation in this little guide.

1. What is a quality lead for you?

Before you start planning any lead generation, it is important to find out what a quality lead is for you? And how many leads must you bring home from the fair for it to be a success. If you do not agree on what a quality lead “looks like” for your company, it will be difficult to maintain a common effort on collecting these.

A quality lead can be:
  • A guest who has signed up for your e-news.
  • A guest who has received a product introduction and would like to receive more material.
  • A guest who has received a product introduction and would like to hold a meeting.
  • A guest who has received advice on a product they already have and would like to make another investment.

Or something completely different …

It depends on your company, on the length of the decision-making process for the guest concerning the purchase of your products, which lead, and how many leads you should bring home.

2. Promote your Trade Show Participation

Unfortunately, you cannot expect the trade show organizers to spread the word about the fair well enough. The trade show organizer also has limited, or no knowledge about your fantastic products, just as he has about your competitors.

So, you are responsible for inviting the right guests to your trade fair stand.

You know why the guest must not miss this opportunity to visit your specific stand, be introduced to your products or get advice from your skilled colleagues, so remember to tell them. The better you market your trade show participation, the better the leads you will get. You must tell your customers and especially your potential customers that you are going to be present at the fair. You must tell what makes it irresistible for them to come and visit you at your trade fair stand.

Invite your dream guest

You probably know who your ‘dream customer’ is. Either as a target group, but often also by name. So especially invite those you know by name but remember to give them an irresistible reason to come and visit you at the fair. 

When your dream customers show up at your trade show stand, you must of course give them an unforgettable experience and do everything to convert them into a new customers, book a meeting or get them to sign up for your e-news. But of course, it depends on what your goals for the fair are.

When you know who visited you at the fair (out of those you have invited), you also know who did not show up. You can subsequently contact them and tell them about EVERYTHING they missed. This gives you the opportunity to book a meeting, sign them up for your e-news, or something else.

3. Your staff can create a unique experience for your guests

A trade show can be seen as a play. We don’t applause behind the scenes, we ONLY applaud the actors.

So, it is up to your staff at the stand to ensure that guests receive a great experience. That is why you must give your colleagues at the stand the best conditions to perform.

Here with us, we plan and carry out training of your staff, where we focus on goals, roles, and responsibilities – and train the team so that everyone goes for the same ball with a view to better lead generation in particular.

We train your colleagues so they can easily:

  1. Start a conversation with the guest (even if the guest is not inside the booth yet).
  2. Qualify the guest immediately.
  3. Give the right experiences to the right guests (your guests have different preferences and should therefore only be presented with what is relevant).
  4. Get guests to subscribe to your newsletter.
  5. Book a meeting or make an appointment for a conversation.
  6. Hand over the guest to your colleague who has the most insight into exactly the topic that this guest has an interest in.

Use an efficient lead generation system

The whole process around your lead generation must be easy and fast for both your guests and the employees. 

Often you can rent lead generation software from the organizers or use software from other providers, which ensures a good and fast collection and qualification. 

Furthermore, it is important to get permissions concerning GDPR, so that you may subsequently contact the guest.

4. Use an effective lead-capture system

Efficiency in lead generation is paramount for marketing and sales professionals. Streamlining the entire process not only benefits the user experience for both guests and staff but also significantly impacts the quality and quantity of leads generated.

Consider leveraging advanced lead generation software, either available for rent from event organizers or through specialized providers that ensures efficient and rapid lead collection and qualification.

Moreover, adhering to GDPR regulations is non-negotiable. Obtaining explicit permissions during lead capture not only allows you to contact the guest afterward, but also builds trust.

5. POS material can support your lead generation

“We have handed out 500 brochures”

This is often pointed out when employees return from the fair. But do they now also know to whom they have given them to?

When you hand out physical POS material and simultaneously fail to request anything in return such as the e-mail address of your guests, you can subsequently only wait aggressively by the phone and hope that some of the 500 will make a phone call.

If, on the other hand, you agree with the guest to send the material by e-mail and at the same time receive permission so that you can subsequently contact them, you now have the opportunity to follow up on each and every one of the 500 leads. 500 leads, which is already qualified, because the colleagues at the stand have already done so when they signed the guest up to the POS material.

500 leads. How fantastic would that be?

6. Lead Generation - Next Steps

So, what do you do with those leads?

Who follows up when you are home from the trade show again? Is it sales, is it marketing? Is it the employees who have been at the fair for several days who return home to a full inbox?

A survey by the American CEIR (Center for Exhibition Industry Research) states that: “42% never receive the material they are promised at the fair, and 28% only get it after they have bought the product from (yes, guess for yourself) the competitor”.

That is why it is SO important that you decide who is responsible for following up on your leads. Efforts have been made to get them qualified and collected, so it will be a waste of energy if no one follows up on them. And it does not have to be the staff who have been present at the trade show.

You can most likely send leads home to the office every day so that they can follow up on these leads, and it is also a good idea to divide the task into smaller portions because it can be a very big mouthful not to.

A joint report should be submitted so that all the participants at the trade show can see the results of their hard work and the results should, of course, be celebrated.


Make it easy to keep your promises ...

With explicit goals and a well-defined target group, motivated staff, and systematic (and digital) collection of leads, the follow-up will be piece of cake. The only thing it requires is that you have complete control over these 5 areas: 

1. Hot leads

Which leads do you need to take home to achieve your goals – what characterizes a good, hot lead for you?  

2. Ask the right thing

What information do you need to collect about your guests/leads, in order to be able to follow up purposefully – what do you need to remember to get answers to and permission for?

3. Packed and ready

What will you follow up with and how will you send out the material? Have brochures, prices, pdfs, etc. ready before you leave.

4. Collect (digital) business cards

How do you collect leads to streamlining the following-up process – do you have the right (digital) tools available?

5. From lead to a sale

Who does what, when? How do you easily and quickly get your leads into your CRM so that they are part of the existing sales process?  

Easy and targeted follow-up starts before the fair. Mindset, ownership, internship, and time in the calendar must be aligned and fine-tuned so that your promises do not become unmanageable to keep when you return from the fair. 

And just to return to my friend from the Euro Shop – my path to becoming a customer with him, could have been much smoother if he had been completely focused on the above 5 areas – and had he kept what he promised … 

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