Does the following seem like it could really happen, especially in this economy?
Recently I attended a trade show. An exhibitor appeared to have precisely the product I wanted. I spoke with a SVP, who assured me his firm provides the solution I sought. He asked for my business card and offered one of his.
Lost Opportunity for Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Annually
Fifteen days passed without as much as an email from the exhibitor. Normally, I wouldn’t bother to contact a vendor that did not bother to follow up, but in this case, I really wanted the product, or so I thought. I sent an email to him and we agreed on a mutually convenient time for a call.
In preparation for the call, I went to the vendor’s Website and to my chagrin discovered his solution would not work for us. A good product, but not a good fit. I cancelled the call.
Being in the sales lead retrieval business, naturally I gave some thought to what should have occurred right from the get-go. The exhibitor had a lead retrieval system on hand, but simply chose to exchange business cards instead. If he took any notes about our conversation, it wasn’t evident. Given the lack of follow-up, I doubt that he did. Had he asked certain questions, he would have been able to tell me on the spot that the solution he offered wasn’t the right one for me. The questions he did ask were random and failed to qualify me, or more accurately, disqualify me, as a prospect.
What about the visitors who were good prospects? Were those leads managed the same way? Probably. Did those mishandled leads contact him, as I did? Maybe, but not likely. When the company evaluates the results from the trade show, will the decision be not to exhibit next time because “not enough business resulted”? What a pity.
If you are a trade show organizer, you should not have to help exhibitors help themselves with regard to the basics, but as this honest-to-God example shows, you’ve got to! And if you are an exhibitor, manage your leads as though they are worth money, because they are.
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