Do You Lie (When Surveyed at a Tradeshow)?

Tell the Truth:  Do attendees lie when they have to answer questions at a trade show?    Do you lie when presented with a survey? Recently, I have been debating this topic with some very smart B2B lead management experts.  Some leaders within the Marketing Automation space flat out state all leads including surveyed leads need to be nurtured due to attendees lying when completing surveys at tradeshows. James Obermayer from The Sales Lead Management Association states this as well in his book and I respect his opinion greatly.  I have also spoken to many companies who have tried surveying exhibit visitors and stopped.   This due to sales department resistance, on the claim that its very difficult to survey and the data is just incorrect. Those points made are certainly valid, if the survey questions themselves are poorly written,  and not tuned to their target audience.  What if they are not?   What if things are simplified? How to get the truth out of your attendees? Structure your questions in a manner such that the attendee realizes they can control how you treat them post event. There is one question that most people will respond to in an accurate fashion, especially if you reiterate your intentions based upon this response and provide a distinct and subtle opt-out;

How would you prefer we follow-up with you post event?

You are doing yourself and the attendee a favor by enabling them to tell you if they are ready for sales follow-up or simply curious with no genuine interest.

Here are some simple sample responses we see often to this question followed by how some customers decipher and treat each response:

        Have  sales call right away

  • Decipher as – You can help me with a problem I have.  Don’t incubate me!

        Put me on your mailing list only

  • Decipher as – Nice product.  I have no decision authority and or am not ready.  Incubate me.

        Just curious no need for follow-up

  • Decipher as – I want your squishy ball for my kids.  I will never buy from you and calling me or emailing me would only piss me off.  Thanks for your squishy ball though.

With regards to the opt-out event attendees appreciate it when given  an opportunity to tell you they are just curious and don’t want to be bothered when picking up a trinket.  Knowing the answer to this question as well can be worth a tremendous amount of money to you post event by eliminating bad data from your followup efforts and reducing lead decay.   If they tell you they don’t want to be bothered on their submission, don’t bother them or be less intrusive with your incubation strategy.  This will build trust in your community.

Also, your BANT questions should only be asked if they state they are interested in follow-up.  You’ll be amazed at what a trinket seeker will tell you when you ask these questions.  Don’t.  Attendees do have a tendency to embellish the truth when answering BANT questions, but they do so to a lesser degree if their interest is genuine (“Have Sales call right away!”).

BANT B - Budget in place for project, or access to funds. A - Authority to approve and make decisions to move forward N - Need to take action T - Timeline is clear

Without asking survey questions you are forcing your company to treat every lead though incubation or as a sales ready lead which can be very costly.

Do you believe people lie when filling out surveys?  Do you lie about surveys?  if so Let me know your thoughts.