Meet the Experts – Trade Show lead management with Richard Erschik
Hello Richard, welcome to The Exhibitor! Tell us a little about you and your professional journey.
I began my tradeshow career 30+ years ago as an exhibit manager for a large manufacturing company with a significant tradeshow exhibiting budget. When I realized that our salesforce was not following up on the leads from the show, I developed a “process” of responding to leads that I turned into a very successful tradeshow service company that I managed to a $10million dollar sales level before l sold it to one of its customers in 2009. Today, I teach exhibitors the lead response “process” that was the secret behind my company’s success – as one of the highest rated and sought after tradeshow exhibitor educators in the U.S.
You clearly identify three stages in the trade show management process. What are there?
There are 3 critical areas relating to tradeshow exhibiting success and I cover them all in my popular webinar is entitled “Get the MOST from PRE-DURING-POST tradeshow exhibiting.”
If you had to identify 3 essential elements to manage BEFORE an event, what would these be?
- Pre-show promotion to bring more visitors to your booth.
- Don’t forget to plan for the DURING show requirements of booth-staff behavior.
- Don’t forget to plan for the POST show lead follow-up that generates the sales and ROI to prove show value to company management that needs to be convinced that tradeshows are cost-effective.
How do you advise people to measure their results in order to estimate success?
Brand awareness is generally 2nd to sales lead generation and their conversion to sales from which everything else progressively results.
Statistically, less than 20% of tradeshow leads ever get follow-up. Therefore, 80% of exhibitors’ selling opportunities are falling-through-the-cracks of lead handling inefficiency.
Maximize follow-up and sales and ROI naturally follow. I show exhibitors how they can assure 100% lead follow-up from the “process” I teach them as a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) solution.
A visitor is approaching your booth, can you walk us step by step through the process?
The worst thing you can ask an approaching visitor is “Can I help you” to which they can simply NO.
And once they say no, there is a negative to unnecessarily have to overcome.
Teach the booth-staff to ask simple open-ended questions that engage the visitor in conversation and listen twice as much as you talk. The prospects will actually identify themselves by the conversation, as will the non-prospects from which to disengage politely. It’s far too valuable a show to waste time conversing with non-prospects.
The absolute best question that can be asked of a prospect is “when can we come in to talk more about this” and get then to commit themselves to a date/time.
Do you believe solutions such as myfairtool improve the traditional pen&paper lead capture method?
But don’t make the mistake of stopping with lead capture and efficiency that gets the leads to the sales force faster, so they can do nothing with them sooner.
ROI doesn’t come from lead capture. It comes from lead follow-up. So something should be done to qualify the leads to make follow-up easier.
After the event, the job is not done yet! What else?
Get the leads into the sales funnel.
What are the dos & don’ts at a trade show booth?
- Don’t eat in the booth (remember your breath as you are talking to people.)
- Don’t talk on your cell phone or to each other. It’s rude and visitors won’t want to interrupt.
- Do smile a lot. You never know who you are talking to.
- Do ask open-ended questions that get prospects talking.
What do you advise companies to do to insure proper return on investment?
Capture leads efficiently.
Follow-up on the leads effectively and showcase the leads that result in sales to management who generally controls the tradeshow budget. Tradeshows are the most cost effective form of marketing combination today and I prove it in the best education webinar on the planet.
Any additional tips for our readers?
Keep learning as the tradeshow industry is evolving.
Exhibit managers should get more involved in their company’s selling process so they are looked at for their contribution to SELLing and not just SPENDing huge amounts of company budget and resources on tradeshows.