For exhibit and event professionals  

How to Evaluate a Lead on the Trade Show Floor as Quickly as Possible

February 12, 2018 By Editor

Evaluate a Lead

There are two schools of thought when it comes to quickly evaluating a lead at a trade show. The first involves turning lead retrieval into a numbers game. The more people you talk to, the more qualified leads you'll uncover, right? Sure, there are going to be some people that end up being less-than-valuable, but so long as you and your team reach out to everyone, you're sure to “hit” more often than you “miss.”

The second involves making an effort to evaluate a lead on the show floor as quickly as possible, immediately identifying whether or not your time would be better spent elsewhere. Both are valid approaches and neither is necessarily right or wrong, but only one of those two methods allows you to work smarter, not harder all event long.

You just have to keep a few key things in mind.

There are two types of visitors that can make or break your exhibit. Visitors who act like they are interested in what you have to offer but are probably not going to make a purchase. Then there are the serious customers who are more focused, curious. These are the people you need to single out quickly and nurture as a lead.

Start by Looking Inward

First of all, let’s face the fact that not every sales opportunity is going to be worth your time. Even the ones that look promising.

This means containing your enthusiasm as much as possible. If someone spends time in your exhibit and appears to be a done deal, things still might not go the way you think they will. Don’t let your rush to close a sale cause you to overlook key indicators (see below) that could disqualify your prospect as a genuine lead. You will have spent valuable show time with nothing to show for it.

Go Back to Your Customer Profile

Another way to quickly evaluate a lead involves mentally comparing your visitor to your existing customer profile. Think of your ideal customer, then examine the person who is standing in front of you. How well do those two align?

This is a process that can vary depending on your goals. Sometimes it will be affected by how big the company is that they work for, what the ideal use case is for your product or service, or even what experience they have in the past with companies like yours.

This is an easy way to see if the difference between a genuine lead and someone who is legitimately interested but has nothing to offer.

Ask Three Essential Questions

Finally, as your conversation with a prospect continues, uncover the answers to these questions:

  • What is their timeline for making a decision?
  • What are two critical issues they have that I can help them out with?
  • Is this person just a representative from their company, or are they a decision maker?

The answer to the first question will signal the urgency of their situation, which can say a lot about how close you might be to a sale. If you can't answer the second question, rest assured the person you're talking with won't be able to either, which means that a sale isn't nearly as likely as it might seem.

The final question is everything. If you're not talking to a decision maker, your exhibit visitor is going to have to convince whoever pulls the trigger that this is the right purchase for the right goal at the right time. This isn't necessarily a guarantee. But if you sense your visitor is an influencer and has access to decision makers, your time may be well spent.

Every situation is going to be a little bit different. Sometimes the person you're talking to at a trade show will check all of these boxes and you will still be left without a sale.

But these critical skills, and above all else you make an effort to temper your own enthusiasm, you'll be in an excellent position to quickly qualify leads right on the show floor all event long.


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