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How to Follow Up with Trade Show Leads

How to Follow Up with Trade Show Leads

“How can my inside sales team get the most out of trade show leads?”

It starts with understanding why both parties participate in trade shows.

The top three reasons are:

  1. Stay relevant
  2. Make new connections
  3. Generate leads

As you’re collecting leads, you’re meeting new people, having great conversations and making new connections. When the trade show is over, everyone goes back to their office, uploads all of the leads into their CRM, adds the new leads to a specific email marketing campaign (I hope you are doing that), as well as assign those leads to their inside sales reps.

Now most sales managers, when they get back from a trade show, will be very excited and pumped up about all of the new leads that the trade show generated, and when they get in front of their inside sales team, they will spread that enthusiasm to be nothing short of having the Glengarry Glen Ross leads.

The team will be pumped up and hit the phones with vigor only to lose steam with each passing outbound sales call they make.
Apparently, these prospects didn’t go back to work after the trade show and sit there waiting, hoping for your sales reps to call them.

So, how do we solve that? How do we turn trade show follow-up failures into viable sales opportunities?

Change your mindset from WHAT WE DO to: What’s In It For Them.

Most inside sales people will pick up the phone, dial the trade show leads and say something like:

Hi (Prospect’s Name) this is (Your Name) and you attended our booth at (Trade Show Name) and expressed interest in our (product / service) and I was hoping to get on your calendar for about 15 minutes (blah blah blah).

To which the prospect rejects your request.

Does this sound familiar?

Ok, so what went wrong?

For starters, do you know how many other sales reps are calling that same prospect, saying almost the exact same thing, even though they are in totally different industries?

If the shoe were on the other foot, how many of those phone calls could you take before you started to get a little less polite on the phone?

The Problem is twofold:

  1. You sound like everyone else.
  2. You’re going in with what you offer, and not what you can do for them.

Unless the prospect you are calling raised their hand to be contacted, it’s a cold call. And no, visiting your booth so they can have a chance at winning a prize pack that you offer doesn’t qualify them as “raising their hand”.

The Solution

Treat these leads as a cold call and approach them with the intent of piquing their interest enough to where they WANT to set a time to have a discussion with you.

For Example:

Let’s say you sell a software solution that auto dials prospects for sales teams.

Instead of calling your trade show prospects and asking to get on their calendar to do a 15-minute demo, only to have them ask “what booth were you again?” followed by a blow off or a stall, try this:

Part 1: Hi (Prospect’s Name) this is (Your Name) with (Your Company) Reason for my call is we help (name the prospect’s title and vertical)

Example: Hi (Prospect’s Name) this is (Your Name) with (Your Company) Reason for my call is we help Sales Directors within the Mobile Apps Industry

Part 2: Hi (Prospect’s Name) this is (Your Name) with (Your Company) Reason for my call is we help Sales Directors within the Mobile Apps Industry reduce call reluctance and increase outbound calls by an average of _____%.

The key is to pique interest with what you can do for them, rather than use the “trade-show” as a crutch and sounding like everyone else.

Approaching trade show leads as a cold call gives you an advantage. You rely more on the objective (piquing interest) rather than using the “you stopped by our booth” approach. And once you pique interest, you’re in position to have a conversation. And smart conversations lead to more qualified sales opportunities.

– Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone teaches inside sales teams how to pick up the phone and close business. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com – An online sales training company.

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