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3 Methods to Improve Engagement at a Trade Show

Posted by Barbra Schwartz on Aug 1, 2017 9:00:00 AM
Barbra Schwartz

improve engagement trade show

“You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain [of qualified leads] is waiting, So...get on your way!”  - Dr. Seuss

Today’s the day you get to meet all those wonderfully qualified attendees who made appointments to meet you at the big show and see the results of their assessment. You’re all set up and your team is ready to dazzle, as you await the first of your pre-qualified meetings.

It’s time to really put the value-selling approach to the test, and begin to show them the money. You’re ready to start helping each attendee begin building a business case that closely defines their business obstacles and begins to illustrate how your solution can tackle those problems. 

You laid the groundwork for enabling a meaningful dialogue around business value by providing an assessment and/or value calculator with your booth invitation. You’ve collected the responses and scheduled the meetings. Now it’s finally time to really improve engagement by capitalizing on the data.

If You Have Data...

Of course, you hope everyone who made an appointment completed the assessment or value calculator before they arrived, so that’s your primary approach. By securing qualified appointments ahead of time, you ensure you’ll have a steady flow of booth traffic, and that you’ll have time to discuss results with each respondent.

Pull up the results on your laptop or device and build the foundation of the business case customized for each attendee. Take this time to walk through their responses and get to know their business and their challenges. Verify the results with them. If they have question or doubts, you’ll have the opportunity to walk them through the calculations in greater detail and modify the inputs and outputs until they are bought in to the results.     

At the end of the appointment, let them know you’ll be emailing a personalized value report (PDF or PowerPoint) for them to review after the show to share with their colleagues. Most importantly, your team will be engaged in meaningful conversation with each prospect and won’t be struggling to determine whether each attendee is qualified because they’ll have the tools to guide them.

With these resources, you’ll be miles ahead of the rest of the exhibitors -- in terms of qualifying leads and ushering these new prospects deeper into the buying process. The sales team next door can only look on in envy as they pass out pens and pads with their company name.

No Data? No Problem.

If an appointment or walk-up arrives without having had the opportunity to complete the assessment and/or value calculator before the show, you’ll still have time to start the process. Guide the prospect to your kiosk or use your tablet or laptop to lead them through the assessment. Then you can proceed with the rest of the dialogue, learning more about the prospect’s business and determining whether and how your offering can address their specific problem(s).

No matter how far you get with these prospects, you’re still ahead of the game. Once you confirm they’re good candidates for your solution, you can send them home with the same promise of a personalized value report and an offer to engage further upon their return.

Capturing the Curious

While you’re speaking with your appointments, you can generate interest from other attendees walking past by offering to perform the same service for them. Ask interested attendees about their business and if they would care to take a quick assessment or learn more about the value of solving a business problem.

You can stand with them as they complete the responses at a kiosk or answer the questions for them on your tablet, impressing them with the information you can provide right there on the spot. Let them know you’d be happy to provide a personalized report in exchange for their email address and provide them with your card so they can research your company later.   

If everyone on your team is tied up with other attendees, but you have a spare tablet or kiosk available, you can guide prospects to complete the responses independently and let them know if they wait, you’ll be with them shortly or else schedule a time for them to return. Alternatively, if they want to include their contact information with the results, you can assure them that you’ll follow-up with them after the show or you can even email them the assessment so they can complete it at their convenience. 


You made a significant investment in appearing at this trade show; maximize the return on that investment by gathering data before the show and making appointments to share the results. By pre-qualifying prospects, you differentiate your company and improve the probability of a shorter sales cycle and increase the odds of winning the deal.

Meanwhile, your ability to provide valuable data instead of cheap gifts will impress those who are just walking by. After all, you provide access to an assessment that directly addresses each prospect's problems instead of trying to sell a one-size-fits-all solution. 

Ultimately, you and your team go home looking forward to the next phase in the sales process instead of shuffling through a bunch of business cards or a list of scanned badges, trying to figure out which leads if any were the most viable. And as an added bonus, you won’t have any leftover tchotchkes to pass out to coworkers.

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Topics: B2B Selling, ROI Tools