How To: Tradeshow Lead Generation

Trade shows are a great way for businesses to develop leads (both B2C and B2B). If done correctly, you can gain great ROI from the time and investment spent on sending your sales teams to various trade shows and conventions throughout the year. But are you getting the most out of it that you can? We've compiled a few tips for how to make sure you're gathering valuable leads and getting the most bang for your buck.

Before the Trade Show:

• This may seem like common sense, but first off, you want to make sure you're attending the right kinds of trade shows. Do research on the demographics that different trade shows attract and make sure it lines up with your ideal customer.

• Be Prepared: once you've confirmed that you're attending the right show, decide how you want to keep track of new leads. Gathering business cards? Have a system to rank on how hot the lead is. Another way to gather info is with a survey or form where interested customers can input their info. Many shows offer lead capture systems to electronically gather information from scanned badges. 

• Go ahead and block time off your calendar after the show for sending follow up emails and making calls. Blocking it out ahead of time will help ensure you actually spend time doing it without getting distracted with other to do's.

• Build excitement by using social media, email, or mailers to reach attendees and attract them to your booth with special offers. Be sure to include your booth number!

• Choose and design a display with clear, concise messaging to attract more attendees.



During the Trade Show:

• Now that you've come up with a system for organizing leads, be sure to stick to it. Taking a few extra seconds to mark "A" for hot lead, "B" for luke warm and "C" for a cold lead on the business card before throwing it in your briefcase will help later on once you're putting it in your system.

• Have several key questions you can ask to help you determine whether someone is genuinely interested in your product or service. Make note of any particular needs they mention so you can directly follow up with them. People like to feel special and remembering specifics of your conversation will go a long way.

• If possible, schedule lunch or dinner meetings with leads that may be on the fence. Spend the time to get to know their needs and what may be holding them back.

• Host competitions or raffles to get more attendees in your booth. Use it as another chance to gather information on potential customers that may be interested in your product or service.


After the trade show:

• Remember how you blocked time off on your calendar? Actually use it and spend that time following up with leads while details are still fresh in your mind.

• Schedule a reminder to follow up 2 weeks out if you haven't heard back from them right away.

• For leads that may not be ready to commit just yet, check upcoming tradeshows or events where your contact may be attending and schedule a time to meet with them. This will help solidify your relationship and move you from cold call status to trusted vendor.


The most important thing with lead generation is to have a system in place and to stick with it. Make sure your team knows who is responsible for what part of the process to avoid confusion or losing track of leads. 

Need help with tradeshow logistics like shipping, drayage, and set-up? Call us at 423.266.5879 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for help!