The failure to follow up on a trade show sales lead has always mystified me. Exhibitors and attendees alike invest in a trade show. Attendees invest time and money in order to learn about products that will help them become more effective and efficient. Exhibitors invest time and money to…what? To “show the flag”? Some claim that is their only goal, but the vast majority of exhibitors participate in order to generate leads. Most accomplish this objective. But a lead that isn’t followed up is like the proverbial tree falling in the forest. If no one is present to hear it, does the falling tree make a sound? If no one follows up a lead, is it really a lead? Instant Download: "Why Companies Use Lead Retrieval" [PDF]
Here's What Tradeshow Booth Staff Can Learn From Italian Street Vendors
Contrast the behavior of the sales people who do not follow up leads with that of the vendors in the marketplace in Florence, Italy. To them, a lead occurs when a browser visits their stall, handles the merchandise, asks a few questions…and attempts to move on.
“You don’t like that pocketbook, madam? Let me show you another that is even nicer. Today, for you, I will make a special price. Where are you from? America? I love America. What city? New York! Really? My cousin Rosa lives in New York. I gave her this very pocketbook. She luuuvvs it. You will, too. Here, put it on your shoulder. Take a look in the mirror. Beautiful!”
If you move on, as my wife was wont to do, the vendor is likely to hustle after you. “Madam, you look magnificent with this bag. You must have it! I will make a sacrifice and give it to you for 10 Euros less.” The usual outcome was that everyone walked away happy, my wife because she got a bargain, the vendor, because he got a sale and me, because the haggling was finally over. I was forever under the illusion that with this particular purchase, our shopping foray would come to and end. How naive of me.