One of the most popular motives for attending trade shows is to generate leads. Attending just one event can put your brand in front of hundreds or thousands of people. Once you meet potential clients, colleagues and vendors, you can nurture these relationships and turn them into paying customers.

But, what if your trade shows haven’t been giving you leads to work with? Does this mean that your efforts have been wasted?


Trade shows are one of the most profitable business-to-business media strategies. In 2016, they generated 12.8 billion dollars in revenue. If you’re not gaining the number of leads you had hoped for, better optimization is the answer. Below we share five reasons why you may be missing out on qualified leads and how to fix them.

  1. You don’t know who is attending.

Do your homework before each show to learn about the audience. What problems are they trying to solve? In some cases, you may even identify specific individuals to reach out to through email. Set up a time during the conference during which you can chat about your product.

  1. You’re not talking to the right people.

It’s frustrating when you have a great conversation, but the person you just spent time with can’t make any decisions. Nevertheless, these are key opportunities to get your product closer to the right person. Ask for the contact information of the prospect’s boss, or look through an online organization chart for a name and number.

  1. You don’t have a reliable lead retrieval system.

What lead retrieval system do you rely on? The most common techniques include collecting business cards, filling out handwritten forms, scanning badges, or renting/owning a qualifying system. Be sure that your lead management system is reliable and consistent. Any information that slips through the cracks is a lost opportunity.

  1. Your trade show booth doesn’t attract visitors.

In some cases, companies don’t have leads to work with because they aren’t getting enough foot traffic. Make the most of each event by custom designing your trade show exhibit and hiring friendly, knowledgeable booth staff. Between portable, modular, and custom exhibits, there are ways to amplify your brand without cutting into the budget.

  1. You are not following up with potential leads.

The work doesn’t end when the trade show is over. Enter your leads into a database, along with relevant notes. As you follow up with the prospects (usually in 3-5 days), you can separate them into groups based on how likely they are to buy. To nurture leads through the funnel and personalize communications, use marketing automation software.

Are you guilty of any of the five issues listed above? Address the shortfalls and strengthen your lead generation strategy for greater trade show success.