For most organizations, whether B2B, B2C, or NFP the number one reason to exhibit at a trade show is business development—leads. Selling retail products, connecting with businesses, and identifying donors are ultimately the goals of most show exhibitors. It’s easy to forget that trade show lead generation is the name of the game and get caught up in show details that have little to do with lead generation. But the bottom line is the bottom line. Leads pay for the show, or they don’t.

Trade Show Lead Generation Top Ten  

10. Be seen and heard – If your booth is hard to find, leads will be hard to get. How to get the best booth location for your buck.

9. Light it up – Make your booth eye-catching and attention grabbing. Use graphics, calls to action, products, and lighting to set the stage. 5 Keys to successful trade show booth design.

8. Make it inviting – Don’t crowd your booth with tables and chairs making it difficult or impossible for prospects to enter your booth space. Open it up. Make it inviting.

7. Hold a sweepstakes – Conduct a drawing that allows you to gather contact information and begin a conversation with prospects. If you want to capture interested prospects offer your product as the prize.

6. Blast it – Before the show, invite customers and prospects to your booth, send an email, letter, or card. For larger clients consider offering a ticket to the event. Invite guests to after show meetups. Check with show organizers for event sponsorship opportunities.

5. Use social media – Promote the show and your exhibit location on social media. During the show offer updates and giveaways. After the show use social media as a follow-up tool.

4. Press it – Send press releases to industry publications, local media, and show collateral materials.

3. Use promotional products – We all remember useful SWAG we’ve received at a show. How to choose trade show giveaways.

2. Pick the right show(s) – Some industry shows are nearly mandatory to attend, but others may be questionable. To determine if a show fits your needs ask the following:

  • Will my target audience be in attendance?
  • Is the show large enough to support my effort?
  • Are my competitors attending?
  • Will my customers be there?
  • In the past, what was the outcome of this show or previous similar shows?

And the number one answer is, drum roll please, Train your staff

It’s not enough to dress show workers in company apparel and hand them a clipboard. They need training. Excelling at the previous nine points will mean little if your staff isn’t trained. How to engage prospects at a trade show.

Someone has to Lead the Way

If you want improved trade show lead generation you have to lead the way. It begins with choosing the best shows, creating an inviting booth, and then training your staff. Leads don’t magically appear; they have to be won. Are you there to win or just watch the game from the sidelines?