How to get 80% more trade show prospects

Are you converting trade show leads to prospects?

Are you converting trade show leads to prospects?

Trade shows are an effective way to get sales leads. But typically only 20% of them make it to prospect stage. Andi Catt of The Call Businesses shares the secret to maximising your trade show leads.

You’ve made a significant investment to attend and build the stand. You’ve taken the time to exhibit at the event, and paid your staff to work there. You’ve been rewarded with a stack of business cards. Now it’s time to turn that trade show into leads and sales.

The problem is, in many cases, 80% of your effort is IMMEDIATELY wasted. Why? Pareto’s law of cause and effect explains.

Usually, 20% of the leads you acquire at trade shows are what we classify as ‘prospects’. A prospect has a current and quantifiable need for the type of product or service you sell. Your sales people will zero-in on these prospects because they are the most likely to buy, in the short-term. This immediacy is attractive to sales people because it represents the most efficient way for them to meet their targets and it appeals to business owners because it will begin to repay the investment in the trade show.

80% of sales leads are immediately lost and with them goes 80% of your investment

It’s no surprise, therefore, that this 20% takes up the attention of the sales team.

So what happens to the remaining 80%? Unfortunately, because they don’t have a pressing need, they are often forgotten. Few sales teams have the time or inclination to follow up on leads that are not interested in meeting, or in a quotation, or asking for literature. Those who are not displaying buying signals, in other words. So those with no immediate, quantifiable, specific need - the 80% - are sidelined, and with them goes 80% of your investment.

However, the 80% without a pressing need are still valuable. We call them suspects rather than prospects. Whether it is in six months, a year, or even longer, these people may require your services. Like any prospect, suspects still need nurturing and qualifying.  But even where this need is recognised, few organisations have the resources to invest in qualifying all these suspects and building these ‘slow burn’ relationships.

The typical strategy to counter the 80% problem is to practice data capture. Get an email address, add the contact to a email marketing list and hope this is enough to sustain awareness for when the suspect does have a need.  It goes without saying that while this approach can successful, it’s a hit-and-hope strategy that has limited success. 

As a business development specialist, we DO have time to screen, nurture and build relationships with these long-term prospects.  

There’s a far more effective strategy which clients are increasingly talking to us about. As a business development specialist, we DO have time to qualify, nurture and build relationships with these long-term suspects.  

Our clients hand over their leads and we quickly eliminate the time-wasters. We engage with the viable contacts and identify the possible future opportunities. We nurture them, keep in touch with them, make them feel valued and turn them into prospects. And these prospects flourish into clients, when it’s the right time for them.

The results are startling. 

  • Our lead nurturing service led to a six-fold increase in new project value for a large scientific and medical components manufacturer

  • In nine months, we engaged a pool of unqualified suspects to deliver 474 hot prospects to a gas analysis supplier 

  • In six months, we booked 86 meetings for a client, which generated 36 deals and enabled them to exceed their revenue target by 1000%

Working the ‘lost’ 80% of suspects and identifying the prospects amongst them, creates a long-term sales pipeline. It’s an efficient and effective way to maximise your investment in business development and one we would love to discuss with you.