In my experience, tradeshows rarely generate many new leads. Not because the sales team is hoarding all the business cards they collected at the show (marketing conspiracy theory #35). But because buying patterns have shifted. Anyone that wants to learn about a new technology doesn’t have to wait to visit you a booth at tradeshow (like they did back in the 1980s). They can go online to self-educate and discover vendors.
That doesn’t mean that you won’t get any foot traffic if you fork over the $10,000 for a 10 x 10 booth. But most people that will stop to talk don’t really have a need. You will get a fair number of existing customers that just want to say “Hello.” You will also get a lot of people that are looking for leads themselves – leads for a new job or for a new partnership. But most people are just treasure hunting for a stuffed animal or small gadget they can take home to their kids.
I’m not a big fan of booths. Booths suck up resources. You need three (or more) people staffing your booth during exhibit hours. Most companies send their top talent to tradeshows:
- the most knowledgeable sales engineers
- the highest performing sales managers
- the busiest product managers
Having these high value resources chit-chatting with half-interested passersby is not a smart use of time. Instead have them focus on higher value activities.
What might those activities be? I will share a list in my next post.