5 Methods to Collect Leads at Trade Shows


Are you confused about which lead retrieval method you need to use in the next trade show you exhibit in? What will give you the best value for your investment?

Investing in the right method of lead collection and retrieval can facilitate the process of generating more leads and hence, prospective clients.

In this article, we are demonstrating some commonly used techniques during trade shows, so that you could openly compare between each’s advantages and disadvantages, then choose the one that suits your needs best.

5 Methods To Collect & Qualify Leads At Trade Shows

1. Paper forms

This is the most conventional method of collecting data generally. All it takes is just some paper and pens. You ask each person that visits your booth for some information about themselves so that you could find out if they’re relevant to your business, and you manually write everything down.

  • It’s as simple as it gets. It does require any prior knowledge to practising it.
  • Given the technological advancements nowadays, it does not give a professional vibe to still use the regular paper and pen.
  • On the surface, it seems like it doesn’t cost much because you are using cheap resources, but you will realize that you did not really get value for the money you invested in marketing at the trade show.
  • You will consume way too much paper! In addition to the non-friendly environmental effect, you will find yourself with a big bundle of paper that you will have to go over once the event is over.
  • Paper forms don’t give you any qualitative data beyond the contact information.
  • Unless you have genius staff with analytical skills, paper forms don’t allow you to qualify the leads on the spot. You will spend a lot of time manually transcribing the data you collected and analyzing it.

2. Business cards

The tried and tested! Everyone goes to trade shows with a stack of business cards they are ready to exchange with the relevant network. So it makes sense to do the same, and gather business cards from people you connect with at your booth and then look over your collection once you are done.

  • It’s a quick way to exchange personal data
  • It’s cheap (costs nothing actually)
  • Business cards contain accurately printed data, instead of personally asking for the information from the person thus ending up with a handwriting you can’t read.
  • Like paper forms, you don’t really get any qualitative data beyond the basic info that is written on the business card; or else if you try noting down anything additional, it will only get more chaotic
  • Possible data loss, as you will be carrying around a big stash of business cards that are very easy to lose.
  • It is difficult to quickly follow up with the leads you met, as you first need to enter the data onto your system which requires a lot of time and effort

3. Business cards scanner

Its results in the same information as the regular business card collection method, but it saves on the paper carried around. Instead of asking the leads for their business cards, you just scan their attendee badges and receive the basic information (name, job title, company name, email, phone number) onto the scanner.

  • All your contacts will be saved on the scanner instead of carrying them around as paper forms or cards.
  • Like the previous two methods, you do not get in-depth information about the needs of the leads you meet so that you could qualify them.
  • You would think that by using a scanner instead of paper, it would save you some effort; but still, you have to manually transfer the data you collected on the scanner to your CRM.

4. Interactive games/contests

A smart way of collecting data without being too direct and through engaging your booth’s visitors is to organize an interesting game they could participate in. The visitors have to fill in a form with their data before participating, then you could use that form to follow up with the relevant leads after the event.

  • You could have your potential leads fill in the form on a tablet instead of paper, to reduce errors.
  • You could ask insightful questions on the form the visitors have to fill to participate in your game or contest. This will give you an in-depth idea if they are qualified leads or not.
  • It is a very entertaining method that allows the visitor to engage with your brand.
  • You will only receive the data of those who are interested and engaged enough to participate in your organized game/contest; so you might miss out some opportunities of qualified leads that did not participate.
  • A bit costly, as you have to plan and execute a very interesting activity.

5. Lead retrieval technology

Eventtus Leadbox is an example of lead capture and leads retrieval app that delivers to you tangible ROI on marketing during a trade show. Through a simple QR code scan to the attendees’ badges, the entire staff at your exhibiting booth will be able to collect and qualify leads on the spot, then migrate all the data gathered to your CRM.

  • You can pre-set questions that will give you qualitative insight about the leads you meet, so that you could qualify them validly.
  • Provides you with measurable ROI, as you can precisely know how well your marketing and sales teams performed during the event in terms of gathering qualified leads and potential customers.
  • Allows team collaboration, as all your staff at the booth can use the app and monitor each member’s activity.
  • Integrates with all CRMs, so that you could easily export all the data you collected to your system.
  • Facilitates follow-up with the leads quickly after the event, as it saves the time it would take using other methods to transcribe the collected data.
  • Appears more costly on the short run (but actually provides greater value on the long run, as it makes up for the money spent on event marketing when leads turn into customers).

Each method has some benefits over the others, but what makes it best comes down to your company’s needs from exhibiting at an event and what will give you the best value.

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