How To Stand Out From the Crowd at Tradeshows: 5 Creative Ideas

Creative Ways to Stand Out at Tradeshows - The Slow Pitch Sales Podcast ep 71
Sales Podcast, The Slow Pitch
The Slow Pitch Sales Podcast
How To Stand Out From the Crowd at Tradeshows: 5 Creative Ideas


How to Stand Out from the Crowd at Tradeshows: 5 Creative Ideas

In this show we talk about creative ways to stand out from the crowd at tradeshows. Here’s what we’re assuming: Your going to have a table or booth at an upcoming expo or tradeshow. You have a little time… what do you do to prepare? What should you do before, during and after an expo to maximize your time?

In this episode we speak with Mandee Flanders of The Lead Line Podcast (link here: where she sells to horse related businesses. She’s attended a few tradeshows in her day and has some insights into attending them. The other half of this show will cover what you should do as an attendee at a tradeshow. That link is here: The Leadline Podcast

Beginning with before the show, we talk about a few things that would be helpful. Communicate with potential visitors and prepare your materials so that they’re written in the “language” they need. For example, if they’re a D on the DiSC profile, you might have a high-level bullet list of important items for them to take away with them.

We also suggest sending them a video message, in the same way prior to the show inviting them to visit your booth. Give them a reason why they should visit and make them interested by bringing up something important to their company. Why do they need to visit you?

During the tradeshow, a good way to stand out from the crowd is interacting and have a system of tracking who you spoke with. We know we should do it, but what is your system? We talk about a system you might consider if you don’t have a great one already.

After the tradeshow, one way to stand out from the crowd is to do a specific follow up. Most people follow up with a generic message. We do not suggest this. Your goal is to stay out of their way by asking them questions related to your meetings you had at the tradeshow. If you had a meeting, you should have set a follow up day/time. If you didn’t, now is the time.

We talk through a few other items that will help you stand out from the crowd at a tradeshow.


Related Links:

How To Sell To A High D Personality – 3 Powerful Uses of DiSC Profiles in Sales

Sales and DISC – The “C” Personality

Top 10 Habits of Highly Successful Salespeople

The other side of this podcast episode about being an attendee and what to do is located here at The Leadline Podcast


Time Stamps (auto generated by PodFlow):

[00:00:08] Maximizing Time and Preparing for Trade Shows: A Discussion with Mandy Flanders
[00:03:11] The Benefits of Preparing for a Trade Show
[00:06:00] Using Giveaways
[00:08:48] The Benefits of Sending Personalized Video Messages to Potential Customers at Trade Shows
[00:11:30] Finding Inspiration and Encouragement for Attending Events
[00:14:17] Proper Preparation for Trade Shows
[00:17:19] The Importance of Having the Right Personnel at Networking Events
[00:23:19] Smart Marketing Practices at Trade Shows
[00:26:07] Organizing Business Cards from Trade Shows
[00:28:43] Topic: Reconsidering the Use of Giveaways at Trade Shows.
[00:31:34] Managing and Processing Information After Events
[00:34:17] The Power of Personalizing Your Marketing after Events
[00:37:32] The Power of Networking and Following Up
[00:40:04] Effective Strategies for Leaving Voicemails after Networking at Trade Shows
[00:42:44] Maximizing Success at Trade Shows


Trade shows are a great way to increase brand awareness and create relationships. As Rob and guest Mandee on The Slow Pitch podcast discuss, the key to success at a trade show is preparation. Rob states, “if you’re tuning in, saying, how do I sell more at the trade show? My my approach would not be to sell.” In this episode, Rob and Mandee present three beneficial tips to make attending or exhibiting a success.

Tip 1: Do Your Research. Before attending the trade show, you should gain an understanding of who will be exhibiting and selling and familiarize yourself with the industry. Aim to find out as much as you can about the companies who are exhibiting and going to be attending so that you can make the most of the opportunity.

Tip 2: Have a Game Plan. It is important to plan ahead for a trade show. Drive walked the show ahead of time and create a plan for what days and times you are likely to visit each booth. Figure out a plan of attack for the shows and have a goal or multiple goals in mind.

Tip 3: Utilize Social Media. Utilize the power of social media to get the most out of a trade show. Be sure to take pictures, post, and share experiences to get the most out of the event. This adds an extra element of attendee engagement and fosters a connection between the attendees and exhibitors.

For help in making the most out of a trade show, listen to The Slow Pitch podcast featuring Rob and guest Mandee. By taking in their advice, each trade show experience is sure to be successful!


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Music: "Clydesdale Funk" by Cast of Characters, written by: Dustin Ransom.

The Episode

Rob  00:08

All right, welcome back, everybody to The Slow Pitch and today we have a special guest, we have Mandee Flanders from The Leadline Podcast …  and Mandee, I kinda want you to introduce yourself in the sense of what your podcast is about and why you’re even here like this. Give us a little quick intro.

Mandee 00:26

Well, first of all, you and I met at PodFest, which is a podcast conference in Orlando, Florida. And that was back in January, and I was the girl walking around in the cowboy hat around the convention. And you and I struck up a conversation. And so my podcast is specifically for equestrian entrepreneurs. And the easy way to describe that is we talk business, but for horse people, so anyone that’s in the equestrian space, but owns business or wants to start a business, that’s my audience, and that’s who I talk to.

Rob  00:57

Yeah. And I think we got into a conversation. And we started to realize that we both have gone to trade shows, we’ve attended trade shows, and there was a trade show as part of this podcast. And we were both commenting about how well it’s interesting how some people treat trade shows and how some people don’t treat trade shows and how they should today we’re going to talk about how we’re going to maximize our time at a trade show so that we get everything we want out of it. And that’s as both an exhibitor and as an attendee, and you’re going to be able to hear both sides of this on each of our podcasts. But for now, we’re talking about the exhibitor side. So if you’re exhibiting at a trade show, what do you need to do to be prepared? Let’s get started.

V/O  01:38

You were listening to The Slow Pitch Podcast, a podcast about selling less and closing more.

Rob  01:45

So let’s, let’s go through some assumptions here. Mandy, when you and I spoke about this, I think let’s think about what we’re assuming one of one of his is that you’re going to a trade show you’re going to an expo of some form in the next month or two. And what are the things that you should be doing to be ready to maximize your time behind the table and the activities that you should be doing beforehand? And what you should do afterward? Knowing to me, maybe not to you. But to me, the goal is, is not to sell at the tradeshow. So if you’re you’re tuning in, say how do I sell more at the trade show? My my approach would not be to sell what would you think, Amanda? You’ve, you’ve done both sides of the table. So what would you think I

Mandee  02:21

think there’s a lot of different reasons that people go to trade shows either as an exhibitor or attendee. And this is great, because I just recently attended a trade show as a vendor. So I’m excited to, to break this down with you, because I’m sure there were things that I forgot to do. And there’s other things that I did do. But for me, the purpose of that trade show was brand awareness and building relationships with people. So that was the big purpose for me when I recently went to the trade show that I visited.

Rob  02:49

Yeah. And Lane, you’ve been to a few trade shows. How are you doing over there? By the way, you haven’t said a word.

Lane  02:54

I do a fantastic job. I have been to a few trade shows, typically in the IT area, but it’s trade shows are interesting to me. They Yeah, as an attendee, and that’s really the only the only thing I can speak towards, but you have vendors, you walk up to a table, you don’t know anything about them, or what do you do anywhere from half a sentence to three sentences that make absolutely no sense. And they just stand there and stare at you? Okay, you know, I move on. Yeah, that they will they will they want to scan your badge? So they get your email address or phone number? Yeah. But, you know, to me, it seems like a lot of times, it’s just, it’s just data gathering.

Rob  03:31

Yeah. And I would agree to me, I think if you’re going to be present or exhibiting at a tradeshow, I think what you really have to think of is not about selling at these events, it’s a couple things. One is you want to confirm to your existing clients or customers that you actually exist again, like if you haven’t seen them in a while and they come around, they’re at these events and trade shows, you should really be your goal should be just to confirm you that you’re there still, right? They want to see you again, you’ve worked with them before they they want to know that you’re okay, everything’s going well, that’s a good thing to be doing at a trade show.

But the second thing is, is to get qualified leads. And so yes, scanning the bads badge is important. But I would add a lead is one thing, a qualified lead is a totally different ballgame, right? So I would challenge anybody who’s an expert who’s going to exhibit at a trade show, if you’re scanning just to scan, you’re doing it wrong, because while that’s nice, you should have a system in place to just you can scan fine. But you need a system to be able to say this one is very important.

And this one is not right. So let’s so let’s break this down a little bit. So let’s talk about before the show, you know, what are some of the things that you did before the show, Mandy that you were, you know, just walk through a mental checklist? What are the things that you would do to make sure you’re ready for the trade show?

Mandee 04:48

Well, one of the number one things that I always make sure I take to every event that I’m a vendor at is make sure my business cards are ready or any type of handouts that I’m going to be passing out. And that’s you know, making sure that the print production is running on time, and that I have enough time to actually get those orders in and get them in hand before I travel and leave for the trade show.

So the show that I just visited, I prepared these little podcast promo packets because when I go to trade shows I go for my podcast specifically to just build more awareness around my my show. So I make these little podcast promo packets and they’re these little clear little baggies that seal up nice like little envelope. And inside those little baggies, I do a business card and a sticker for my show.

And I always make sure that those are not just ordered, you know, between the business cards, the stickers, but I also have to prepare them because I’m personally packing these little, these little bags that get passed out. So I got all of those ready before I went to the trade show. And, you know, when I got there, they went out on the table and they looked great, but without those people don’t really have anything to get in hand. So that was something that was like number one on my list.

Rob  05:55

Okay, is there anything else you would do to be ready for for a tradeshow? I’m sure that I mean, obviously, you want to make sure you have signage or forms or other things that you need to do to collect information. Is there anything else you would do?

Mandee 06:07

Yeah, I mean, you know, production aside, when it comes to, you know, creating your booth and setting up, that’s a whole, I think, a whole other conversation, making sure that all of that looks really good. But I did take some signage, I had something that I printed at Staples and brought with me a nice little sign. And I also printed out a tabletop sign that went on one of my high tops, and it was a QR code that I created for people to scan and potentially subscribe to my podcast.

I’ve, I have done the lead gen thing in the past where I’ve had people enter a giveaway. And personally, I haven’t seen a lot of results from everyone just scanning and entering to win. So this time at the show that I just went to I put the QR code up just to subscribe to the podcast, because that was a benefit for me. And it helps people to find my show a little bit easier than just searching for it.

Rob  06:59

Yeah, makes sense. Okay, you know, Lane, is there anything that you would do to prepare if you were going to exhibit at a trade show?

Lane  07:06

I’ve never done that. So that’s, that’s the million dollar question. I feel like I would I would get there and go, oh, oh,

Rob  07:13

I should have done this. Look at left and right.

Lane  07:16

Yeah, I should have done that.

Mandee  07:17

I think we all do that, even when we prepare to.

Rob  07:22

I totally agree with that. Sometimes I feel like I’m all preparing to get done. I go, Oh, well, I should have done that too. Look at that guy. He’s got that over there. That was done. Why not that thick of that. So So I think one of the things I wanted to go through is kind of a couple of checklist items that I tried to do before I go to a trade show. So first thing is try to identify who’s going to be attending try to communicate with them.

So here’s what I mean, one of the groups that I would look to talk to are the other exhibitors, because a lot of times you see the same clients, or you want to see the same clients, so they could be referral sources, right? They could be people that will help you get in front of other people. And the other thing is, is while they’re while you’re going through the show, if you have a good conversation with them, and they understand what you do, they’ll bring people over to you and you bring that people over to them. All of a sudden, you’ve just doubled your ability to sell or bring bring in more leads, right? That’s one piece.

The other thing is who’s signed up to attend the event? So on the other side of the table who’s coming? Is there a way to get that information? A lot of times you can get that information? And if you can get that information, how do you communicate with them before the show, and here’s a good way to do this. I feel like one of the best ways to do that is through a video message. Let me give you an example. There was a company that I worked with one time, who we knew there was a trade show coming up, they served a construction world, let’s call it and the stuff that they sold all had to do with construction sites.

And so you’d want it they want to talk to roofing companies, they wanted to talk to general contractors, they wanted to talk to electricians. But each one had a different item that they sold a product what their product was was different for each one of those people, right, the message that they would do is to a an electrician, they would say something along the lines of, hey, looks like you’re going to be attending at this upcoming event, whatever it was called. And I have no idea if you have any interest in even talking to us. But we’ve helped companies similar to yours. And here’s how, and give them a one sentence very quick and easy.

We’d fix this problem statement and then finish it up with I have no idea if you need any help with that or whatever want to talk about it. But you know what we’re at the tradeshow we’re going to be at this booth number. We’d love to have a chat with you just to cut say hi, that’s it. And if you have us as a resources, sometimes you already have a company that you work with, maybe you need a backup company just in case they disappear.

That’s as simple as the conversation needs to be in that video message. And it’s a very easy and targeted message. And you could do this for every one of the people you want to talk to. Or you could do this for categories if you want, right. And I would look at it as using something like a video card or a loom or a bungee or whatever these video companies that let you do something quickly on your computer or on your phone and be part reasonable be somebody that they’d want to talk to and make it simple, but make it direct so that they understand what you’re saying and make it so that they just want to come by and say hi.

And even if it you know, if you’re going to give something away, talk about that for a second, hey, we’re gonna give away this, whether you do business with or not, you might be able to win. Come on, you know, that kind of thing. How many times Mandy or Elaine, have you been to a trade show where you signed up ahead of time, and they sent you if somebody sent you an email, something similar to that never happened?

Mandee  10:26

Yeah, I don’t think anyone’s ever sent me a video message. I’ve seen some times that emails come out in advance, but I’ve never gotten anything that personalized.

Rob  10:33

Yeah. And so that’s where you’re going to stand out and be different. And they may look at that and go. And if you do it in an email, and you do it as a, whatever, write that, but that video is going to be very targeted to that person. So I feel like that’s an easy way to differentiate yourself a little bit before the show. And the next piece is, is asking for some sort of a conversation. If you have a very targeted person you do need to talk to because you think they need something that you’re selling.

And you want to have that initial conversation, have that invite and see if you can schedule a meeting, even if it’s a hey, let’s see the 10 minute video, or let’s have a 10 minute meeting and just sit down and talk about a couple of things so that you can understand what we’re doing. And you know what some of the buyers that are out there, they’re doing that anyway, might as well invite them right, if you’re, if you’re talking to a larger company that has buyers, they will come by if you schedule it with us, hey, I want to schedule a time with you and set up a Calendly and set it up so that every 15 minutes, you’ve got a spot that they can sign up to, it helps you organize your time.

But it also helps them organize their time a little bit and say, Okay, I’ll be here in a particular spot, knowing you know, half may not show up, may show up at a different time, may pick a different day, whatever, it’s fine. But knowing that they’re coming gives you another a little bit of a one up if you will, and you’re ready for them knowing that they’re coming. What if you had a folder of information that has all the information you want to go through.

More importantly, you have a specific printed out document that has their name, because they’ve signed up whether they show up or not, you have it and you can keep that separate. So you have the folder sitting there with all the stuff that you want, but have a letter that you’ve already crafted. And it can be a little bit of a form letter, but not too for me, right? Like it’s specifically targeted to their industry. But it would allow you to have a specific message that has their name on it, that you then can just quickly grab that paper and slide it together with your with your folder of information. And so that gives you another differentiating piece because nobody else is doing that. Anybody ever do that for you when you’re there?

Mandee  12:31

No. But I love these ideas that you’re giving. Because I’m I think we’re going to need to make a checklist out of this episode. Because I’m thinking these are really good ideas. I should try them because no one’s done it for me.

Rob  12:42

Yeah, and I think that’s the the issue is nobody does some of these things. And it takes a lot of work. But if you’re targeted, and you know what if there’s 1000 people coming through the event, or 10,000, doesn’t matter, there’s probably 100 people you really want to talk to. So break it down to 10 a day for 10 days, it doesn’t matter how are you want to break it down, but make it simple and just be very targeted about what you’re doing.

And to me, I know we talked about last night I talked about the disc profiles, I would be ready with that piece of paper, I would have imprinted on one of four different colored paper, one colors for the D personality one is for the eye personality one is for the S personality was for the C personality. So when you pick that piece of paper up, you know which personality you’re talking to, and guess what that letter will more than likely, if you’re doing it correctly be formulated to speak to a D personality when you’re handing it to a D personality. So maybe I don’t know how familiar you are with the different personalities.

But we talked about DiSC personalities. And there’s there’s the dominant personality, the influencer, this the steady kind of a person or the conscientious personality, right. So your messaging is going to be written to a conscientious person as he personality in details a little more detail, a deep personality, no detail, it’s going to be high level here’s what you’re gonna get. Here’s what you expect an AI personalities going to talk about the team and about what they’re doing and a little bit of feelings added to it right in.

An S is going to talk about the team and what they’re doing together and how we can do this together, you’re going to have this crafted message that’s a little bit more targeted to that person. It’s tough to know whether or not exactly what their personality is, if you don’t know them at all, and you’ve never had a conversation with them. But if you can get to have a conversation prior to that’s even better, because then you can really target that message.

That’s kind of the stuff I wrote down is things that I would do before a show besides the obvious. It’s easy to it’s, you know, everybody remembers you got to have business cards. You got to have your, you know, your table setup, you’ve got to have signage, you got to have some pamphlets, you got to have whatever you got to have to make sure that people know who you are. Those are the easy things that to me is the low hanging fruit. I want to set myself apart. When I meet people where they they walk away and they say, Listen, I had a friend of mine long time ago, say to me when somebody walks away from me, I want them to remember one of two things with me. One is I hope I never talked to that guy again. He’s a jerk. I don’t want to ever talk to him again. Or like

Lane  14:59

Every time we record this Rob.

Rob  15:02

Or on the other side, they’re like, hey, I really would like to talk to him again, because he seemed very interesting. But either way, you’re memorable. And that’s really what your goal is in this right? So any any other things you guys would add to that before?

Mandee  15:16

Yeah, I think there’s one other key point that I was thinking of when it comes to preparing ahead of time for the trade show. And a little more insight into my background, but I spent six years as, as the director of an event staffing agency, so I actually sourced staff to work at trade shows. And the reason people do this is because when you’re pulling folks from the office, you’re going to these shows, there’s often not enough hands available to send and have people, especially at these busy conferences, or conventions.

So if you are someone who’s bringing in outside help someone that’s not employed full time by your company, or someone that doesn’t really know anything about your company, one of the things I see lacking in this area is proper training for your help before you get to the show. And I’ve been in those shoes to where I’ve been hired even to go work behind the table for a company that I don’t really know. And people come up and they’ll ask questions.

And if I haven’t been given the proper resources in advance, I can’t answer those questions. And I can’t really speak properly to how the company works and what they offer. Without that training being provided to me, whether you are bringing in, you know, your kids, your mom, your siblings, whatever. Or if you’re just hiring temp staff, which is the case with a lot of more corporate level companies, it’s so important to make sure that you are hitting at least like a small list of bullet points. And the most frequently asked questions that you get at your trade shows because people need to be able to at least answer those.

Lane  16:51

Totally….you’re I had no idea. That was the thing. I had no idea that was a thing. But that totally explains the one to three sentences in the blank stare at you. When you ask what do they do? Totally understand that. Okay.

Rob  17:04

Yeah. Yeah, that does happen. And I think that’s a key piece of if you’re going to bring a team, and there’s going to be four or five, six of you that at the show, which some people do, or some of these companies do. What’s the goal? Everybody should have a goal. Everybody should have a role. What’s your job? What’s your job?

Like, once whoever’s the most outgoing personality, they’re going to be the ones bringing people in? And they should be handing it off to somebody who can answer more detailed questions. And if you find out, you’re talking to a see, introduce them to the other, see if you’re right, so you make them feel comfortable. So that they’re they get into this conversation, it’s just engaging. Because if you have somebody that’s very high level, talking to somebody that needs some detail, that doesn’t usually go as well as it should. But if you had a detail person talking to a detail person, now you’ve written somewhere and so, but I think having everybody on the same page as to what your goal is totally true. Yeah, I Yeah.

Mandee  17:53

You know, I worked for I’m trying to remember because it’s been a minute it was a few years ago, but I worked for some kind of airline supply company at one of their trade shows. And the reason they brought me in to help with the show is because it was a team that was full of men. So there were maybe like six men at this trade show booth. And I think one of them went, Hey, maybe we should have a woman here. So I help us a little. So they hired me.

And my job really was just to get people into the booth. And even the target audience was primarily male. So it was like, hey, just put Mandy at the front of the booth. She says hi to everybody. And then she hands them off. Well, at some point, one of the guys that came up to the booth started asking me questions, because I think he was curious what my background was and how I got involved. And finally, I was like, Look, man, I’m just here to greet people.

Mandee  18:43

I don’t know anything about this. We’re having more of a like one on one personal conversation at that point. So I felt comfortable being able to say that, but I was I had to be like, Listen, I’m just here to help out. I don’t really know anything about this. But here’s your guy, if you really want to get those questions answered,

Rob  18:59

built up, that’s what happens usually.

V/O  19:01

Do you have a question about sales? Call or text your question at (608) 709-SLOW. That’s (608) 708-7569. Or you can email them to Now, back to the show.

Rob  19:21

So when you’re at the table, the date of the event or during the days of the event, right? How do you behave? And what do you do? So you hit on some of that, you know, my first thing that I wrote down was like, if you’re just sitting there waiting for people to come to you, you’re doing it wrong. Like that does not make any sense to me. I can’t I mean, Mandy, you and I saw this when we read the podcast, it was like, they were just sitting there and waiting for you to come to them.

And then sometimes for out of boredom, I would go up and say, what do you do? And then of course, you got the same thing Elaine said it was they just give you a sentence or two and then I don’t I don’t know what that means. What does that mean? And I It got awkward quickly. And I was like, I’m out of here. I don’t want to do I want to go over somewhere else. Because why am I doing this? Yeah. So yeah. So if you’re, if you’re behind the table, interact, say, Hello. If there’s more than one person at the table, coordinating who should be doing what, which is kind of what you’ve talked about. Right?

Mandee  20:17

Right, exactly. I mean, sometimes one person’s doing the greeting, and then the other person is the one that really takes those more in depth conversations. But no matter what your role is, there should there should always be some form of outreach to the people that are walking by whether it’s just a hi, how are you? You know, we’re not trying to make people feel uncomfortable.

We’re not mall kiosk, people are not that we don’t want people speed walking past us, because we’re known as this, that won’t leave people alone. We’re not there to harass, we’re there to just great and sometimes just the eye contact, making a personal comment. I know. So here’s a great example. So at the trade show that I just went to this, just recently, I was walking through one of the buildings with my camera tripod, because I was actually filming interviews on site. And one of the vendors there called out to me and was like, Whoa, that’s a fancy tripod, you got there.

And she ended up I interviewed her on the spot, because she literally just initiated a conversation with me as I was walking by, and I wasn’t going to stop and talk to them, because their table was just full of like paperwork. Just another conversation. It didn’t look that interesting. But by the time we had that conversation, I was like, Well, I’m really glad you said something to me as I was walking by and pulled me in. And sometimes that’s all it takes is just to like, hey, I really like that thing you have today or you know, something to get their attention and get them to pause.

Rob  21:42

Yes. And finding that hook or whatever that is to call out and get them to walk over to you. Yep. So let me ask you this, both of you. You’re there. You’re collecting busy, you’ve got business cards coming at you. How do you organize those business cards? Because I feel like that’s the one thing that people don’t do very well is knowing how to organize their business cards. Do you have any suggestions because I got a couple ideas. But I want to hear what you guys usually do.

Mandee  22:10

I don’t have a special organizational system, I will say they’re probably bunched by event. So when I come home, I at least know which event I got them from. What I’ll do in real time typically is if there’s something really important that I need to know whether it’s maybe a specific role that a person works in or a special contact name or something, I’ll just keep a pen handy. And typically, if I’m going as an attendee, or as a vendor, whatever, in either scenario, I’m going to have a pen handy, either at the show or back at my hotel. And so I’ll make a little note on the card with that relevant information. And that way, when I get home and it’s in the pile, I can be like, Oh, I needed to do something with this card, because I’ve got a note on it.

Lane  22:50

Okay. Yeah, my, my method as an attendee is very high tech, again, a pen. And if it’s someone I, I wanted to talk to, or I learned something interesting about, I’ll write it on the card card goes in my pocket. If I just get a random card, I don’t really care. It goes in the bag. All right, the other bag may never see that card again at that point. But

Mandee  23:12

all right, it’s the versus bag system.

Rob  23:16

Listen to always one or the other, it doesn’t matter. But that’s okay. So I you know, one of the things that I would suggest is, I would try to mark it on a couple different platforms. One is a category. So obviously, by show, that’s a great thing about you know, how you keep your stuff organized afterwards. But but if you’re at at show, whatever exhibit whatever, you know, for this trade show, you have to think of it in terms of is this a potential client is a somebody that I think should become a client some day, we had some sort of an initial conversation, it sounded like there might be some interest.

And it may be going somewhere, because of that conversation, it sounds like it’s promising doesn’t mean it’s a good lead, but it’s somewhat qualified, that should have a particular designation. So I would recommend a Sharpie. And I would have a number one put on that, or I would put a star on it. Or I could put a PC on it for potential client, there’s different wherever you want to call it, whatever you want to do.

That’s one way to do that. The other way you can do it is you can have a couple of fish bowls back in the back, one for the potential client and one for each of the other categories. That’s another so when they’re done, you just drop them into the right bowl. Right? Make sense? So that’s one thing. The second group I would look at as who is a referral partner. So these are the other exhibitors, these other companies that walk through that see the same clients that you want to see that you want to get in front of their good referral partners or referral sources. So they would be RP or an exclamation or a two or whatever.

Whatever you want to do is your designated piece that you’d put it in there. Oh, to put in that red bowl. And the other one that I was write down is like, is it a potential referral? So is this somebody that I have met that I could refer to somebody else at the show? Or that I I could refer to somebody that I know who does what they need. So in other words, if I’m standing there, and I’m talking to them, yeah, we need to fix our website first. Okay, here’s a website referral person, right that on their PR potential referral web, or, you know, that kind of thing. And it may be there’s $1 sign right there, because maybe that’s a referral that you can get paid for, maybe you can’t depends on the situation.

Those are the three categories, I always tend to think of where people that are walking through, they’re either a potential client, there’s somebody that I can refer out, or somebody that will refer me, those three categories are kind of the big ones. There are other ways you can break it down, you can break it down even further. And then there’s even more important ones, which is, this is somebody that spoke to who has zero interest, like there is, and they still drop the card.

Alright, I don’t want that card, that person should never be spoken to, again, because they’re not going to buy anyway, why did they leave me their card? I have no idea, right? That’s the person I would literally have a bucket, which is basically a trash can throw them in the trash can because you don’t need them. But what’s the point? Right?

Mandee  25:56

It’s funny that you mentioned that, because again, at the last trade show I was at I greeted someone. And she asked a little bit about what I did. And she took one of my little podcast promo packets off the table. And after she walked away, I turned around to grab a sip of water. And I saw her in the corner of my eye, walked back to my booth and slide her card onto my table and then leave again. She didn’t say anything. She just kind of like ninja style, like slipped it on there. And then walked away.

And it looks like she did she ever thought about because she did web design. But it was funny, because since we really hadn’t had a quality interaction, it was just, uh, you know, oh, hey, what’s your podcast about? Okay, cool. Let me take one of these. And then she brought her card back. But I wouldn’t call that a quality interaction. It was very, very brief. And so frankly, I know a lot of web designers already, I have no reason to send her business because I know nothing about her. And we didn’t really talk.

Rob  26:48

Yeah, yeah. Now, listen, if you had a situation just like that, but it was somebody that could potentially be a client. But you didn’t understand why she was sliding it back. It’s very easy for you to just reach out call next week and say, Listen, I set your card aside, because I saw you kind of slide it on my table, there must have been a reason why you just wanted to leave it on my table and not tell me. Are you like really shy? It’s okay, what what were you looking for? And see what they say you never know.

They might say, Yeah, you know, trying to sell you XYZ. Or they could say, you know, I wanted to actually I want to learn a little bit more about this or that from you. Okay, but at least you rule it out. Now, you know, qualified versus not qualified. It’s an easy, it’s an easy way to fix it, right, you just know what happened, you can either throw in the trash can, or you can throw the right in the right bucket. So the other way that I also look at it too, is I look at it as an urgency piece.

So I might write the word now on it so that I have to call them as soon as possible, like, this person was a really good lead. And we got into a good conversation. And they continued on through the tradeshow. But I keep thinking this person I need to talk to again, because they were very interested. This is a good lead as a hot lead. You know, it was they were asking all the right questions, write the word now on it. So as soon as that you get the first day possible, even that evening, you’re emailing them say, Hey, I’d love to have a chat with you some more, we got a good conversation.

Maybe I thought it was maybe you didn’t if you’re an IT all interested, would you mind setting up a time with me to do a zoom call or a phone call or whatever that kind of thing do that if you got another one that’s like a another week or so to do one W or a week or whatever you want to put a date on it however you designate when you want to reconnect with that person. And from that, you need to sort those cards in order once you get back to your office, or when you get back to your home base, if you will, you’re gonna go back to and sort those by order of potential clients, let’s say and then an order of the soonest upcoming date. And you start dealing with those right away.

And don’t wait to put in the spreadsheet. Hey, would you mind if I just email you with a follow up? Okay, hashtag it that way, you know, we’ve got a little hash mark, it’s okay to email, you’ve kind of gotten their their approval to put them on an email list. Because you want to make sure you’re doing that as well. And remember, it’s about quality versus quantity when it comes to this game to me i quantity is does you nothing. It just gives you more work. Anything else you would do while you’re at the show?

I mean, obviously the obvious stuff is talking to people and going through the right questions. And but is there anything else you guys would do to maximize your time at a trade show while you’re at the table?

Mandee  29:38

I think we see the question come up a lot from people who are considering going to trade shows, wondering if it’s worth doing any kind of giveaway or special promotion while they’re at the show. And I think that that can go a couple of different ways. So I want to just touch on that real quick because it is a question that comes up all the time. And I will say I’ve experimented with it a little bit.

I did offer a giveaway at a trade show that I did in November of 2022. And a lot of people scan the QR code, they punched in their name, their email, their contact info. And at the end of the show, I was giving away something very relevant to my audience. Since I have an equestrian entrepreneur podcast. And I drew the winner, I contacted the winner. And this was like the day after I got home from the show. So it was really quick, and then crickets nothing. And typically, what I’ll do is I’ll put a little note in there, like respond within this many hours or days to claim your prize, right? And if not, you move on to the next person.

Well, all of that to say I drew three different names in the end, and none of them got back to me. So why after seeing that, Now, keep in mind, I emailed these people directly from my inbox. So I wasn’t using any kind of marketing service or anything like that, to make sure I wasn’t ending up in spam. But I emailed these people directly, no response, nothing. And I had not collected their phone numbers, because I don’t typically use those. But after that, it made me rethink the whole process.

Like is it worth doing a giveaway where I only collect emails, because three people didn’t respond to claim a free prize pack. And it was, again, it was a good price back, they entered to win it because they wanted to win, I’m assuming. But in the end, I actually did not put any of those emails from that event into my email service. Because it seemed like there was they weren’t going anywhere. So I said, I’m not even going to bother. If they can’t reply to this email, they’re just going to make my engagement rate go down when it comes to actually sending marketing emails. So I do think that it can go either way.

But in my case, I have opted to do a little less of the giveaways as a lead gen. And I’ve found other ways to get people’s contact info.

Rob  31:47

Yeah. And I think you’re right to get phone numbers and so forth. But if you didn’t, I you know, even though that case, email is email, and it just gets buried quickly, right. So sometimes we’ll just miss it. You know, we’re all guilty of it. Sometimes I’ll just email them a quick, in land new and I’ve talked about this and kind of a funny email. So we have one that we were talking to talked about before, which was an alligator email, which is something along the lines of, you know, I emailed you and I hadn’t heard back, and I’m a little concerned, because I’m afraid an alligator may have eaten you.

And if that’s the case, would you do me one of these three things, five things, whatever wasn’t one of them was like, you know, tell me your address. So I can send flowers to your family. One of them is like several little things, right? But each one got more and more of, yes, I’ll call you back. Or this is the date that you can call me back. And that works with sales. But it also works in something like this where like, it sounds like you don’t have any interest. And if you have zero and don’t worry about it, just tell me that by doing that funny story, people read it. And I almost always get a response. Like it’s 95 98% of the time I’ll get a response.

It’s not always response I want. Like, sometimes it’s just like, No Get lost. Don’t talk to me anymore. They don’t appreciate it. Well, they laugh, they always they always send it back and started out with that’s, that is the best email I’ve ever received. But I don’t want your service. Okay, fine. You know what I mean? Like, that’s totally fine. I get it. Yeah. And that’s, and I always send it back, no problem. And sometimes they send it back. That is the funniest email I’ve ever gotten.

I want to use this. Is it okay, if I use it, but no, I don’t want your service. I absolutely use it anytime you want. Like, it’s one of those that works. And people get it and they get it. So you always find a different way to get that back. But but in this case, you know, it is what it is. Sometimes they just don’t want it and they don’t want to reply. That’s okay. All right. So let’s move to post show after the trade show, you’re done.

Obviously, the biggest issue that I always find is following up right. That’s the one thing that nobody seems to do really well. And I think that might be one of the reasons why is that you have another show to go to or you have another project or you have another whatever and you’re behind and your emails are ready, because you’ve been at the show and life is happening. So yes, I get all that. How do you make sure that you get all those things done?

Is there anything that you guys would recommend that people do based on experience of attending a show, getting information from people? And then now you’ve got a follow up? It seems like it’s a more difficult task than it really should be right? Because you’ve got 1000 business cards now, because you forgot to sort them. So maybe that’s what you’re preventing some of that by doing the right things. But is there anything you guys would recommend?

Lane  34:17

I don’t know. I tend to my experience is you just end up on a bunch of marketing lists, and you’re just getting nonspecific marketing junk. And okay, well, that’s not what we talked about. That’s not what I was asking you about is

Rob  34:30

are you saying that what I’m sending you is junk? Isn’t what I’m sending you the most important thing in the world.

Lane  34:38

I already tagged it to the junk folder.

Rob  34:41

Okay. All right, fair. But

Lane  34:45

I think that just kind of goes back to your your, your previous comments, Rob, that you have to at least make some notes of who the good prospects were just saying, Okay, well, you give me your card. So I’m gonna, I’m gonna start spamming you three times a day. It’s not a

Rob  35:00

fact doesn’t really work. Yeah, doesn’t really work. Mandy, is there anything you do?

Mandee  35:04

I definitely agree with what Lane said and that as an attendee, seeing what vendors sent out to us after the show is very generic, it’s not personalized in any way. And you can tell it wasn’t really sent to just you. So people love to feel special, and like you remembered them. So if anything, it’s got to be personalized in some kind of way. It’s got to be a direct email that uses their name, and then even mentioned something, maybe you had an a conversation.

And that goes back to maybe you make a little note about something from your conversation on the business card. You know, maybe they were talking about their kids liking soccer, or an upcoming vacation, something personal where you can insert that little tidbit into the email so that they’re like, oh, wow, they were actually listening to me.

Rob  35:50

Yeah, yeah. And that’s so important that I think that is probably the most powerful tool you could use. To me, it’s, if you can note either on their card or your write a little note aside and staple it to it doesn’t matter, something to refer back to so you know, what it was that you talked about? And how that can little bit of information can make all the difference in the world, I think, is probably the most powerful thing you could do after an event.

Lane  36:13

How do you effectively manage that, though? I mean, you’re, you’ve got to, you know, you got hundreds or 1000s of people walking by your table, you know, potentially you’re talking nonstop eight hours a day? How do you effectively make those notes and, and have a meaningful? Well,

Mandee  36:28

I didn’t say I was actually good at doing that.

Rob  36:33

Yeah, that’s everybody. Listen, you’re not the only one, you’re not the only one. And that’s normal. For everybody, myself included? But like, my answer would be, if you were to prioritize the top of 1000 people, the top 100 people, could you do that? Could you say these are the top 100 Out of the 1000 that I want to talk to? Because these have the most potential to become a client? Could you separate those people in your conversation with a card?

Lane  36:59


Rob  37:03

I mean, let me just work on my card.

Lane  37:04

Yeah, I guess for me, it’s if I talked to, you know, 100 people, that would be good out of that 1000. At the end of the day, I’m not going to remember which one told me their their kid was playing soccer and which one’s going to Bermuda for holiday? So you know, how do I without putting my hand up and telling people No, I can’t talk to you give me a second, I gotta, I need three minutes to write down notes about this conversation.

Rob  37:29

So you got to be really good when you’re like, when you’re networking. I mean, anytime I network in person, I have a card, they give me their card, I’m talking to him. And literally while they’re talking, I’m I flip the card over and I start writing on the back of their card, it can be as simple as kid’s softball, it could be whatever, you know that there could be something that makes sense that you write down.

And then there’s sometimes it just doesn’t, there’s nothing there that you have to write down. But you know that that’s a potential client that you can separate out and say, hey, it was nice chatting with you. So to me, it’s like, if I’m going to follow up with somebody, I would simply write a note or give them a phone call that basically says, It was really nice to meet you. I have no idea whether or not you have any interest ever talking to me again. For all I know, you probably never want to see me again.

But if you did, and you think that we had a good conversation, because I think we did. Would you ever be interested in another 1520 minute phone call, just to talk about what we, you know, add some more information about what we talked about. And maybe I can help you with somebody that I work with, that will give you what you need for that. Or it maybe there’s a piece that we talked about that interested you a little bit when you just talk about no strings attached, I’m not worried about I’m not trying to close anything, no intentions.

Like I just had a meeting today, where I walked in, and they were like, well, you know, that you could tell they were expecting me to like try to close the sale. And I’m like, I’m not closing as I walked the first thing I said to them, like, you could just buy the body language. It was all defensive. And I said to the guys, I said, Listen, my intent here, just so we’re all on the same page. My intent is just to answer some questions and see if there’s anything I can do to help you out, whether it’s pointing in the right direction, give you somebody that could do a better job than I could do, you know, give you somebody that you really need to talk to versus somebody like me.

And if there’s something that I can do for you, I’ll let you know if it isn’t, they’ll tell you that too. And they’re like, oh, okay, and all of a sudden, they they had much better conversation, all of it just changed, the whole thing changed. And so I think when you think of that, in terms of communicating with people on an email or a phone call, leaving them a voice message, both of those work very well. The other thing I found is like if I’m going to if I’m going to make a phone call, and I call their office line and they get a voicemail every time okay, and if I got a cell phone, that’s even better, but if I don’t either which way my voicemail can come back with I start I started out with say,

Hey, this is Rob. I want it you know from company ABC. I you know what? It’s too long. I can’t even I can’t even leave you this message. You know, we met at this trade show. We had a good conversation if you think it’s a good, good good idea for us to connect. Here’s my number. It’s it’s this this this Oh, Wait, hold on, that’s my office, you know what it’s better to call my my cell. Here’s my cell number. And it makes it makes it sound like it’s just casual conversation. And nine times out of 10, when you leave a message like that is very simple, very quick. They go, Okay, I’m going to call his cell because it’s just easier.

And and I don’t have to call, I don’t have to go through a phone tree, I don’t have to do any of that thing, because you never know what you’re gonna get with that. And, and even not even giving them a lot of detail. They’re curious if I didn’t even tell him that that met him at the trade show. And say, you know, here’s my number. And, you know, here’s my cell number, call me there instead. If you get to a voicemail, a lot of times people go, I called you because I didn’t know you were What do you want? It? That’s all I want is I want a conversation to start.

And then I can say, hey, you know, we met at the trade show, we had a few minute conversation, it sounds like good quality, I have no idea. Do you remember that conversation? And they may go? Yeah, I do. And that was actually, you know, we did have a good conversation. Or they may say, I have no idea who you are, I wish I had 1000 conversations, you know what I sorted I, I maybe you’re not the right guy, I don’t know, maybe I got the wrong person.

You know, like, push it back. So I, to me, this whole goes to, I want you to stay a little negative in terms of not pushing them, I want you to pull them and want you to make them interested in your follow ups. So when you make reach out to somebody, it’s not about getting them to be interested, it’s about getting them to, I want to know more information, tell me more. That’s what I want them to feel like.

So all of your messaging needs to be like that, and getting all your information to your CRM and email distribution all that’s fine, you can do all that everybody does that anyway, if they’re gonna do it, if you’re not going to do it, you’re not going to do it. I mean, simple as that. Right. And if you can schedule a follow up calls, get it on the calendar, use Calendly, use something that will get them to automatically do that. But those are the things that you have to kind of be doing after the event.

But make it personable make it something simple. And make it something where they don’t feel like there’s any pressure at all and make it so that they become interested versus you having to push them. And then I think the last thing that I would think of after the tradeshow is done is create a list of all things you should have done differently. And that add that to your next list. So while you have a list going, there’s three more things that I learned at this one, those get added to my list, and how do I incorporate that into my planning for the next one? Makes sense?

Mandee  42:19

Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. At the show, I was just at I tried a new hook was people were walking by. And my hook was, hey, do you listen to podcasts? And honestly, it wasn’t a great hook. I was just trying it. So I might write down some of the hooks that worked better, because the reason it wasn’t a great hook is because when people said no, I had nothing else to talk about.

Rob  42:41

Yeah, well, listen, I think it’d be interesting to do because you had a show not too long ago about chat GPT and having it craft different messages and so forth. I’d be interested to see what chat GPT would come up with was, what are hooks that I can get people interested in talking to me at a tradeshow?

Like, what would it what would it say? I’m kind of curious. Yeah, you never know. I don’t know, maybe it has an idea. Maybe it wasn’t, it’ll make me find some information out there on the web that can give you that information. But that said, Is there anything else you would do after the after the trade show that you would do differently read to it.

Mandee  43:13

Now, I think that the checklist after the fact is really important. And anything that maybe you forgot to pack or forgot to bring for that trade show, you know, make the list, build that list out so that next time you don’t forget maybe some of those important things that you left at home. And every trade show that I do gets a little bit better each time. Because each time I have a takeaway, sometimes it’s even something like maybe I tweak my signage messaging a little bit.

I’m going to do that for the next one. Because you realize, as people talk to you, what’s clicking with them, what isn’t, what works? Well, what’s not. So you know, each one gets a little bit better, as long as you can move forward and remember what your takeaways are. So I would say just write them down and know what they’re for next time or put them in your phone app so you can find it. And that way you read some of that stuff repeating that maybe you didn’t like so much at your last show.

Rob  44:05

Yep, totally agree. All right. With that said, the other half of this will be on Mandy’s podcast. And that is going to be about the attendee side. So if you’re attending a trade show, what are the things you should be doing when you attend a trade show? To maximize your time to go over and list I’ll put a link in the show notes. I hope you learn something new today, Mandy, thank you for being a guest on our show. We really appreciate it. Lane. Thank you for coming in and I appreciate it. So until next time, everybody slow down and close more.

V/O  44:35

Thank you for listening to The Slow Pitch. Slow Down and Close More.

Rob  44:54

Thanks as always for listening today. If you like this podcast, please subscribe and leave us a review. We really appreciate it. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at The Slow Pitch. We were mixed today as always by Johnny Polakis and we were produced by High Gravity Studios. Music credits and other notes are in the show notes section on And we’ll be back with another episode soon.

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