What Lead Gathering Option should You choose?
by Jim Cermak
Episode 006 – Lead Gathering Options
In this episode, we will be discussing different options for gathering leads at your next show while going over the Pros, Cons, and my Bottom Line comments. Plus We’ll also discuss the difference between leads and qualified leads, and which ones you really want.
· The important thing to remember when gathering leads is It’s not just about the number of leads you gather, it’s about getting QUALIFIED leads
· Just collecting business cards or scanning the badges of everyone who enters your booth will cause way more follow up work than needed
· Five main methods to capturing the info you need
· #1 – Badge Scanners. Many shows have exclusive badge scanners for their shows. To determine if a badge scanner is a good choice for you, consider:
· How busy will the show be? If you are having hundreds or even thousands of attendees, then a badge scanner can be a quick and effective method.
· What other attendee information will the show provide with the scans? Aside from basic contact info, what else is the show collecting and will be provided to you? Find out everything, and if that info is important to you this may be a good option.
· What’s your budget? If the budget is tight, skip this option.
· PROS – Quickest way to get contact info.
· Get a spreadsheet after the show of all your leads and info which can be very handy for follow-ups.
· You don’t have to invest in your own equipment or use your personal phone
· CONS – Can be pricey.
· Typically only get one unit and it can be tied up when someone else wants to use it.
· If only use it to scan badges and get contact info, then it's no better than getting a business card.
· Bottom line – Suggest getting a badge scanner at a show ONLY IF you do more with it than simply scan a badge. Make it your info gathering tool to guide your staff through the initial conversation with attendees. Most scanners are customizable to add in questions.
· #2- Business card scanning apps – Go to the Apple or Google app store and do some research. Most are free to try out – at least for a trial or limited use. But even if going to a full purchase, will be far less expensive than renting a badge scanner.
· PROS – Inexpensive option – possibly free, multiple highly-rated options available, can be customizable to capture the info you need, each person at your booth can potentially have one on their own phone and be able to scan attendees
· CONS – Requires attendees to have business cards to work so if you’re marketing to consumers this is not your best choice, need to consolidate everyone’s scans after a show if multiple people are using, may not integrate with CRM
· Bottom line: Using a business card scanner can serve you not only at trade shows, but any time you are doing business or networking. Plus you can immediately and at usually no cost evaluate multiple options to see what is best for you.
· #3 – Kiosk or iPad to capture info
· Setting up a kiosk or stations with iPads or laptops where attendees can enter their own information can be a very effective way to do things.
· Multiple highly-rated apps or even web-based services like Survey Monkey available for you to use.
· Getting attendees to do this does a couple of things – gets them involved, plus frees up time for you and your staff.
· Can have booth staff enter the info while talking with attendees, or hand an iPad or tablet to attendees to complete the information. Or create a kiosk for attendees to do on their own.
· PROS – Can be fairly affordable with the iPad plus inexpensive or free software
· Attendees can fill out info while the staff is free to do other things
· Can customize to get the info you need
· With kiosk can add to the look and branding of your booth
· CONS – Might not be the best solution for those on a tight budget
· For some markets or smaller shows, can prove to get more in the way
· Bottom line: Using a technology kiosk or iPad to gather information may be the best way to do it – especially if you combine it with an offer or giveaway. People will take the time to voluntarily give you the information you want and need in exchange for what you are offering. Plus if you have a kiosk or an iPad stand, you can use that to brand your booth.
· #4 – Gathering business cards – Putting out a bowl for people to drop in their cards in exchange for winning a prize is not a bad way to gather cards. If you are marketing a product or service that anyone can use, this can be effective.
· However this can create a lot more work for you after the show. Business cards alone don’t tell you who is qualified or if that person is part of the decision-making process. The second way is by having one on one conversations with an attendee, and then if they have the potential to become a customer, you get their business card.
· PROS – Super simple and possibly inexpensive
· With the fishbowl method, can get a large number of cards with little effort
· CONS – This could lead to a lot of wasted time in the follow-up.
· Info on the business cards usually is not enough to qualify the attendee
· Bottom line: Gathering business cards can be inexpensive, quick, and easy, but not the recommended way to go because you can waste so much time on the follow-up.
· #5 – Paper and pencil – Using paper and pencil can be just as effective as an app or technology in getting the information you need. Just may take a little more time.
· But if you don’t have the technology available and are on a really tight budget, then printing up forms can be effective.
· PROS – Most inexpensive route
· Great if you don’t have tech
· Simple to create and use
· Not much training is needed – everyone knows how to use a pen!
· CONS – Lots of work after the show compiling and putting into your systems
· Can take longer to complete & some attendees may just skip if too much
· Bottom line: Don’t overlook paper forms! Not as cool as tech, but can be equally effective at gathering info for a lot less time and money.
· THE KEY IS IN QUALIFYING:
· Scanning badges and gathering business cards is great but is going to cost you a lot of wasted time in the follow-up process making calls and sending emails to companies that will never buy from you, or communicating with people who are not decision-makers.
· Focus on getting qualified leads. If you don’t qualify your leads, then you will be wasting a lot of time during the follow-up process trying to sell to people or companies who will never buy from you.
· Qualifying the attendees is necessary.
· The first step is to determine what a qualified lead looks like. Start by looking at your current clients or customers. What industry are they in? What size company? What title is the decision-maker? Whatever the criteria are for your business.
· Determine the one or two most important criteria. Then craft questions to determine if the show attendees you will be talking to meet your criteria.
· Remember – talking with unqualified attendees is simply a waste of time and money.
· Summary of today’s class on Gathering Leads:
· 1 – Badge Scanners
· 2 – Business Card Scanning apps
· 3 – Kiosk, laptop, or iPad
· 4 – Gathering Business Cards
· 5 – Pen and paper
· And the 2 Keys to whatever method you use are to Qualify the attendee, and to capture all the information you need!
About the author, Jim
Jim Cermak has over 25 years of marketing, consulting, and training experience, and has planned and worked hundreds of Trade Shows. He gets a little overly excited about Trade Shows, and puts that passion into helping companies get better results!