I asked the event manager, “It appears you will have about 30 people taking leads at the show; will you be training them how to do it and how to maximize the number of leads, and especially qualified leads, you get?” “Oh, they’re pros,” she said. “They’ve been to a lot of shows and know how to sell.” Gently, I mentioned that knowing how to sell and getting double or triple the lead count at shows are two different things; very different skills. My next question was, “Will they all be salespeople?” “No,” she said. “Five will be there from customer service. We have about five sales engineers who’ll be there, and some marketing people filling in while others take breaks. That leaves us with 15-18 salespeople.” Skipping over that for the time being, I asked how many leads had come from last year’s show. She looked it up and said there were about 600 from the 40 x 30-foot booth. “Great,” I said, “You’ll have a new sales lead acquisition system working at this show and it will increase the number and quality of qualified leads; however if you want to triple the number, may I suggest you train everyone doing booth duty on how to qualify booth visitors?” In our discussion, I said that training in how to use the newer, faster lead acquisition application is easy, but it’s only part of the training needed to maximize the show investment. The training should also include:
- How to present to multiple visitors at the same time
- How to qualify and get the names and interest level of everyone spoken to
- How to get rid of ‘booth-baggers’ who just want free stuff
- How to cross-sell in the booth and keep visitors interested longer
- Why booth personnel have only 30 seconds to address the needs of the visitors, or lose them
- Booth etiquette: coverage, eating, bunching, cross selling, taking breaks, etc.
- How even non-salespeople need training to maximize the investment of their time working the booth.
We covered a lot more in our meeting, but the event manager realized that the reason for the exhibit is to maximize leads, especially qualified leads. Also, the addition of the device used to qualify and database the visitors, and the training of everyone on booth duty can make the difference between just another year of 500-600 prospects versus 1200-1800, using the same booth, with the same people, and the same products.