If the marketing manager comes to you and says, “Because the cost of an event  (exhibit) is fixed, please find a way to double or triple the number of leads from it so we cut the cost per lead in half and double the sales results.”

You say, “No problem,” while thinking, “How the heck am I going to do that?”  The good news is it can be done without a lot of difficulty or even added cost.  First, some basics.

Exhibits and Events are Primarily about Lead Generation. 

Of course, it’s nice to introduce new products at the “Show,” be there to see current customers, have a presence on the show floor when you are speaking, and establish a presence in the marketplace.  But the real reason, deep down in the heart of every company president who funds the exhibit, is the expectation of getting leads.  She wants qualified leads.  She needs people who want to buy to fulfill the company’s revenue needs for the next 12 months.

It’s Important Because

“Each event has a fixed cost.  Double the attendee count and the cost per attendee is cut in half.  With attendee counts doubling, the qualified lead count should also doubles sales from the event.”

Victor Kippes

But showing up isn’t enough.  There is a fixed cost for every show, but a variable return driven by the quantity and quality of the sales leads the show produces.  You can have a show cost $20,000 in space rental, shipping, setup, signage, etc., and double that for the expense of the people manning the booth for 3-5 days.  Whether the total cost is $40,000 or $400,000, you want the absolute highest number of show leads you can get.

If you spend $30,000 and get 300 leads, that is $100 per raw lead.  Because 45% of the people who inquire will buy something from someone, you will have 135 qualified prospects at a cost of $222 each ($30K/135); still not bad.   You will probably get 33 to 66 sales from these numbers.

Ah, now comes the fun.   Here’s how to double or triple the lead count from an event:

  1. Send a preshow mailing. Send out a preshow mailing to those registered for the exhibit and make them a compelling offer. It could be something free, it could be a chance to win something, it could be to meet a celebrity. A preshow mailing that arrives at least one week ahead of the event will dramatically lift the number of booth visitors and push up the lead count (only those who are interested in your products) by 20-30%.

 “There is a universal law of event lead generation: Lift the number of people coming into the booth and there is a corresponding lift in lead response.”

  1. Equip the booth staff with the best lead acquisition system. The cost is minimal, but the results in qualified leads will be dramatic. The best lead acquisition devices are mobile, allow the salesperson to qualify prospects, identify VIP visitors, and separate trinket seekers through a simple opt-out.  Good acquisition systems can better identify qualified leads for the exhibit.
  2. Train the booth staff on how to qualify visitors. Teach them to give presentations to the maximum number of people at any given time (not one at a time), dismiss double baggers who want free stuff, and capture the maximum number of visitor names. This one tactic can double or triple total and qualified leads.
  3. Host a theater sit-down presentation. Whether you have space for 10 or 50 people to sit and listen to your latest, most terrific product presentation, if you have a 10-15 minute presentation once an hour in an eight-hour day, your numbers will jump.  Crave out a space in the booth and you won’t regret it.

If you can only seat 10 people with 7 presentations you’ll have 70 more names;  adding 210 people to the database over three days, and half will usually want information about your products (the other half are resting their feet). Identify these through a simple opt-in within our theater evaluation.

With 50 chairs, you have the potential for 350 people per day to hear your pitch, and you’ll have 1050 ‘butts in seats’ over three days.

BONUS: Live presentation rules

  1. Be Entertaining. Presentations in theater settings must be entertaining.  Talented presenters, humor, action, a good PPT, video, all entertain.
  2. Direct People from the aisle to the seats. Always have people in the aisle five minutes before the presentations to direct people into the theater.
  3. Scan Names. Scan the visitors into the system before the presentation starts.
  4. Opt-out Option. Leave the visitor an opt-out to say they are not interested; only send the good leads to the reps, not those who are resting their feet.
  5. Guide Visitors into the booth. After the live presentation, direct people “Into” the booth as an exit, with salespeople there to answer questions.

The Results:

  • You will double or triple the raw and qualified lead count.
  • The cost per visitor and qualified lead will drop by half or more.
  • The sales forecast will jump dramatically over the three months following the show.
  • Revenue from the event/show will increase tremendously over the 12 months following the show.

And all of this will happen with the same fixed cost.   Can it get any better?

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