Effective Lead Acquisition Form


For most, the primary reason for exhibiting at a trade show is to gain new leads.  The opportunity to speak to prospects in buying mode is one of the main benefits of an exhibition.  Studies show that 92% of trade show attendees said their main reason for attending was to see new products on offer and 81% of those attending had purchasing power.

To make the most of all these potential leads you’ll need an effective way of taking their details.  Simply gathering business cards isn’t really giving your salespeople sufficient information to go on when they follow up the lead.  To make the most of your exhibition it’s important to follow up the leads you gather, only then can they become sales. 

To assist the follow up process and allow salespeople to qualify the leads properly you need to gain as much information from the prospect as possible without putting them off.  No-one wants to answer endless questions at an exhibition stand, so here we cover the information you really need and how to go about recording it.

What is a Lead Acquisition Form?

For some, this may still be a printed out paper form that can be filled in either by the prospect or the salesperson.  Many now however have automated the process and use specialist apps to gather details which can then be uploaded onto a database without the need for time-consuming data entry.  These allow you to scan exhibitor badges, providing you with their basic details automatically.  You have the option to add extra information and often rank leads in terms of how promising they are. 

A hot lead will need immediate sales follow up to convert into a sale.  A luke-warm lead shouldn’t be discounted however, but nurtured, you never know when they might become a sale.

Essential Information to Include

Without being too pushy it is a good idea to gather the following information if you can:

  1. Name
  2. Company
  3. Job title
  4. Email address
  5. Phone number
  6. Products currently using
  7. Products interested in
  8. Time frame

You may not be able to get all this initially at a busy exhibition, so simply contact details will have to suffice.  It is worth leaving space on the form to enter further information that can be gleaned from the prospect.  During a casual chat, a skilled salesperson should be able to find out more information about their needs and wants, what they like/ dislike about the products they are currently using, whether they have purchasing power, budget, etc.  The more information you can note down, the easier it will be for a salesperson to follow up.

You can gain non-verbal cues from visitors by assessing their expressions and body language.  This will give you an idea of how enthusiastic they are towards you or the products and help you to qualify them as a lead or not.

Lead Generating Strategies

In order to maximise the number of leads you gather take the following steps:

  • Pre-show marketing – Use social media to advertise your attendance, engage with the show’s promotional efforts using their hashtag, email prospects and customers to try to arrange meetings.
  • Choose your staff carefully – they should be able to engage meaningfully with prospective clients, be able to qualify the leads properly and be willing to do so. No-one wants to see a bored member of staff on their phone.
  • Brief your staff well – make sure they are all aware of the products and messaging you want to put out there.
  • Have a proper strategy in place – brief your staff about the type of leads you want, how they are to approach prospects and how they are going to follow up.
  • Use technology to attract attention from visitors and automate lead acquisition.
  • Invest in an eye-catching stand – you want to stand out from the crowd so make sure your stand is going to do that.
  • Hold a competition to encourage visitors to leave their details.
  • If possible demonstrate your products to draw attention.

Qualifying Leads

An experienced salesperson will be able to qualify a lead on the stand following a brief chat.  It is fairly obvious if someone is genuinely interested in your products or just there for the chance to win an iPad.  A hot lead is someone who is interested in your product, has buying authority, budget and a timescale in mind.  These are clearly the leads to focus on as they can turn into sales fairly quickly.

Others may be interested but don’t yet have a budget and timescale, or don’t have purchasing power. These leads should still be followed up but maybe not with the same urgency as a hot lead.  Hot leads should receive a phone call a few days after the event to follow up.  Warm leads could be targeted with an email from time to time to keep in touch in case anything should change and they then are able to purchase.

Those visitors simply there for the freebies or competition should be qualified out fairly quickly, it’s important that your staff aren’t tied up with timewasters when there could be a much more promising prospect in the offing. 

Generating leads is the primary reason to exhibit at a trade show – one study found that meeting potential customers was the most positive aspect of exhibiting at a trade show according to 83% of exhibitors.  To benefit from the potential leads on off you will need to have an effective lead acquisition form to take their details.  Following these above steps will help you to do this.  For help planning your next exhibition call us on 0800 019 2141 or email design@exhibition-stands.com


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