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Trade Show Lead Generation

What do you guys think of trade shows for lead generation? I've been to good ones and bad ones. The bad ones I'm there usually just so our company has a "presence".:( - by Doc MC
The trade shows I've been to were for "Real Estate" and I didn't find it very productive for leads. :( - by AZBroker
For some industries Trade Shows are great networking opportunities. They can be a lot of fun too.;) - by SEOMyth
I love trade shows and conventions. I think they can be very productive. If nothing else it lets others in your industry know that you're alive and kickin'. - by WobblyBox
I've been to Tradeshows before. They were always fun for me and I met more than a few people. I did generate a few leads but I can't remember if they panned out. - by Jackie
Trade shows can be a great source of new business. I think it is like any other networking opportunity, you get out what you put in. - by VB-Hack
I've never been to one but they sound interesting. Maybe I'll get lucky and find one in Vegas. ;) - by Newbie
...Maybe I'll get lucky and find one in Vegas. ;)
If you do, I'm in!!!:D - by Doc MC
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. :D - by SalesGuy
Apologies for dragging up an old thread but I've only just joined the forum and sometimes I come across old posts I'd like to comment on ;st

I think it's worth turning the whole trade show thing on it's head. I've had far more success at trade shows for my prospects industries than my own industry.

Let me try to explain that, my sphere is direct marketing. I've had limited success at direct marketing fairs and rarely justified the expenses incurred in renting the floor space, manning a stand and producing promotional materials. You are lost in the whole 'noise' of thing, one of tens or even hundreds amongst your competitors offering a similar proposal. It's often just a who can pee the furthest competition, who's got the biggest stand etc.

Plus, and this is the real killer, I invariably find my stand attracts more existing clients than new prospects! It's not difficult to see why, walking round the bigger trade shows from hall to hall can be hard work and it's customary to have a few refreshments onboard. 'Aah look there's Mike, he'll have some coffee on the go, I think I'll grab a coffee, rest these weary legs and shoot the breeze for 1/2hr'. I've often seen 4 of us or more manning the stand and shooting the breeze with our clients, the nett result is new prospects passing us by thinking, those guys are all busy with someone, I'll move on to the next stand.

In contrast, I've had great success in setting up a small stand at a trade fair for my prospect's industry! Let's say I want to recruit some more high volume mailing work. I might decide that say the telecommunications industry represents a good bet as volume mailers so I'll take a stand at their show. Often, I'm the only marketing communications company around and have a free run at the senior managers attending! It's often possible to have a different conversation with different people than my usual contacts who are marketing directors. A finance director might stop and say 'I wish you'd talk to my marketing guys, we are always doing battle because they can't deliver on budget'. Valuable information sometimes.

You can sometimes get some great introductions into your prospects in this way, they somehow perceive you as specialists in their particular field because you're exhibiting at their trade show.

True story from one show a couple of years ago. I'd been prospecting the Marketing Director of one of the UK's largest telecoms companies for two years without a single appointment. One day I had a stand at a telecoms show and a compliance manager from the company stopped by and in conversation mentioned he was uncomfortable because they were sending out PIN numbers for cable TV as conventional letters. These PIN numbers were not meant to be really secure, they were only there to stop the kids accessing pay per view events or porno channels but nevertheless it was a concern. We found him a solution with one of our financ