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How to recognize good leads at exhibitions?

Exhibitions, trade shows and fairs are really time and money consuming. The only way for you to make such events profitable is to

How to achieve that?

The first obstacle lies in recognizing a lead and differentiating it from a simple visitor. In order for you to qulify your leads, you will need a set up a lead qualification process to differentiate visitors and find out how much time you should dedicate to each.

Typically, : hot leads, cold leads, media, potential partners, time wasters and competitors.

While you should dedicate an important part of your time to the first 3, you will need to limit the time spent with the fourth one and get rid of the other two as fast as you can. (learn more about how to end a trade show booth conversation)

Hot leads

Hot leads are typically visitors that came for a specific purpose and are looking for your product. These people are ready to order and just need to be convinced you are the right person with the right pricing. They are your most important type of visitor: identify them early on, spend time with them and give them the highest priority on follow-ups.

Cold leads

Cold leads are very similar to hot ones. The major difference is that they are not ready to buy and might need a little more push and follow up to go through.


Major fairs and exhibitions attract media. They come to see what’s new in a specific industry and will interview large and innovative companies. If you see a reporter walking by your booth, give him your best speech and don’t focus on technical details but get him a “wow” effect with good demonstration. You wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity for your product to be featured in a magazine!

Potential partners

Fairs are great to meet new people in your industry. You could find new suppliers or potential marketing partners for cross-promotion activities. Remember: while it sounds great, if that is not your main purpose, don’t overspend your time on such encounter! Collect a business card, drop a few notes and keep the long talk for later on.

Time wasters

These are my favorite. They have absolutely no intention of buying but they’d like to get some free samples or chit-chat a little. They can hold your attention and waste your time easily if you aren’t careful. If after a minute you can’t identify a visitor as a potential buyer, don’t push further and thank him politely for his time before moving on to someone more serious.


Trade shows are perfect for analyzing the competition. Your competitors will certainly come by your booth to find out what you are up to. They won’t claim to work for the competition, obviously. Nevertheless, you should be able to quickly identify them based on the very specific type of questions and knowledge they have. Same as time wasters, be polite but firm and expedite them as fast as you can.

Taking thorough notes

The key to converting leads is to understand them. and push them over the purchasing edge.

For this, you will need as many details as you can about their needs and habits. Taking detailed notes of each discussion you had on your stall is important. You might believe you have an incredible memory but don’t overestimate your own abilities. Take detailed notes, especially if you expect another person to do the follow-up, and force your team to do the same. You will need internet in your stall to collect data efficiently, so don’t forget to plan for it.

Your notes must be detailed yet quick and readable. Among the basic information you should always collect you have name, email, company, position, phone number and type of lead (is this a hot lead?). Make use of tick boxes and tags whenever you can in order to easily and quickly identify your visitors and keep track (find out more about “How tags will forever change the way you manage trade shows“). Leave a few minor details on your report, things you have discussed with that person that could be used to start a future conversation.

In order that would save you huge amounts of time – you could add tags, attach photos and would not need to enter your notes a second time once back to your office. myfairtool offers such service and helps you collecting leads details in a very efficient way.


Now that’s your turn! You know what are the different types of visitors you will meet on your next event – all you need is identify them and collect their data as precisely yet quickly as possible. Good luck with your next trade show capturing qualified leads and come back sharing your experience with us afterward!


The Exhibitor.

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