I can’t tell you how often I hear someone say, “we were way too busy to collect any names at the trade show!” Because their trade show booth was so full and they were so busy passing out tchotchkes, bragging about their product and handing out brochures they forgot that the point of the show was to generate leads.
Many of these people lie to themselves by thinking that the show was great because they were able to connect with so many people and pass out so much stuff. This is not true.
Not long ago I surveyed visitors to a booth for a wine company. The main feature of the booth was a wine tasting and I asked people as they came out of the booth which wines they tried and how well they liked them. Very few could remember what they had tried. In fact, I’d say around 5% of the people could tell me the names of the wines. Most of them scratched their heads and pointed in the direction of the table where they had stopped. “We had a white one, I think it was at that table. Oh and a red wine too, or maybe we tried two red wines…”
Keep in mind that we were talking to people within minutes or seconds after coming out of the booth. People have a pretty hard time keeping names and faces and companies straight. Think about your own experience. Have you ever just met someone and immediately forgotten their name? A trade shows we meet dozens, if not hundreds of people. There is simply no way we are going to remember everyone. Even if we loved the product and want to buy it there is a good chance we will forget the name. It’s up to the company to follow up and remind them.
Exhibiting at a trade show is about generating leads for your company. Always take the time to collect a lead card for attendees. A packed booth is no excuse for not collecting names. In fact, a packed booth is the best excuse for collecting names. If you are a properly trained Trade Show Samurai you should have no problem moving through the crowd quickly and capture the right information.
Not capturing is a horrible waste of an opportunity. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that a happy attendee will come back to buy. You must pass good leads to your sales team if you want any real sales.