Bag Tonnes of leads from Targeted Recruitment Trade Shows

Pitching up at a trade show can bag you tonnes of leads, if done in the right way. It can be the equivalent to booking 10 highly targeted meetings within 2-3 days.

But without planning, you can end up with little more than sore feet, a cappuccino moustache and a bunch of free gadgets like everyone else.


On the flipside, it also means cost of entry, expensive travel, not to mention the value of lost business from time spent out of office. – It’s a huge investment, so make it pay off by winning business. Maximise your time and investment with thorough research and preparation. Ideally you should start 2-3 months early to make thorough preparations.


Effective research + preparation work = meetings set up in advance + productive time management.


Warm up your leads with peer to peer networking – harness respect

• Every call before the show is a warm lead. “I will be at xxx show, can we meet?”

• Every call following the show is a warm lead. = Less need for unsuccessful cold calling. “We met at the XXX show”

• The opportunity to meet with target companies face to face, offers the highest level

• Opportunity to meet with key decision makers at the right level.

• Meeting your target clients on their turf = respect.

• Your presence at an industry specific exhibition ensures you are respected in your chosen arena of expertise.

• Good PR – High calibre, credible point of reference for our business anchors you firmly as experts in your target nice – “we are present at all major XXX trade shows” stick that on the front page of your website for a PR home run.


Prepare for the Trade show to get maximum ROI from your investment

• Be sure you have an exhibitor list.

• Use exhibitor lists to target ideal companies. It also gives you an accurate picture of how your industry is trending.

• To research and plan a show you need to monitor projected footfall. (delegates/attendees/trade visitors)

• It’s also important to judge how many exhibitors will be there compared to how many conference attendees. ~ There will not be much show traffic if everyone is stuck in a conference.

• If these figures are not projected on the Trade Show’s web site, study last year’s show figures, as a guide.

• Use Trade show exhibitor lists to research prospects to call. The show list is your foundation for building contacts.

• Work methodically through the show’s exhibitor list, prepare a spreadsheet with names and numbers to call.

• Avoid companies that look like a one man band or too huge to use your services.

• Avoid resellers or simple distributors, they don’t tend to need many services.

• If the show is coming up soon use calls as an opportunity to convert meetings.

• Try calling into the marketing person for the company, they are usually more open to a conversation.

• Research all your target companies prior to calling. (what they do, potential needs)
• Ask who will be attending the show and if you could book a meeting.

• When you arrive at the show be sure to have all your notes with you.

• Try to obtain a physical floor plan or map, this is invaluable as exhibitions can be huge and it is easy to get lost or forget where you have already been to. This allows you to figure out your plan of attack.

• Subscribe to the show newsletter, this will make you aware of what will be going on


Travel Arrangements

• It is very important that travel arrangements are made in advance.

• Accommodation costs sky rocket closer to a show as all the hotels put their prices up.

• Make sure all essential items are packed: – travel tickets, show ticket/pass etc.

• It is essential that you check where your hotel accommodation actually is in relation to the expo centre, booking over the internet can sometimes make things look close together.

• Travel is exceptionally slow during the time of a show due to volume of traffic. This can add to your journey each day and give you a mammoth commute.

• Working a show is already extremely tiring, in the evenings you will want to rest up and be refreshed for the next day.

• Don’t forget to factor in travel costs each day too, it can add up in major cities.


Approaching a stand

• Takes a bit of courage.

• Be armed with business cards.

• Ensure you are smart, well dressed.

• Stand up straight and confident.

• Know exactly what your first sentence will be.

• Be prepared to ask them about what they do, listen to what they say and ask questions.

• Try to obtain business cards, these are priceless with direct contact details for clients.

• Try to get referrals from people. They may not be the buying manager, but they will know who is. Be direct ask for an introduction.

• Try to get information from them about the company, their objectives and planning.

• Try to strike up a personal conversation, so they will remember you in your follow up.

• Always allow the next few weeks to follow up on leads and convert them to orders.


Stuff not to do:

• Hawk round stand after stand like a salesman – people will hide

• Pushy sales tactics

• Wear new shoes – your feet will bleed.

• Hit the after show parties, get tanked and make an idiot of yourself

• Forget your business cards

• Scout round collecting free stuff, it weighs you down and makes you look a wee bit pikey.

• Give out leaflets etc, not cool…….and you will get chucked out!


Rhys sold out of his previous recruitment businesses in 2012 to focus solely on helping recruiters set up and build recruitment businesses. Follow Rhys on LinkedIn or contact him direct for help with your start-up recruitment business or for coaching to grow an existing one.