Getting great leads at healthcare trade shows is not magic – it just takes a little planning. But let’s say you decided last-minute to attend a conference and do not have time to spend months working to drive leads to your booth. Is all hope lost?

Not at all. You just need to know how to properly work your booth. Here are the three steps you will need to leave every show with a list of solid leads.

1) Go in with a strategy.

Even if you have to scratch it out on the plane, you need a strategy. When it comes to healthcare trade shows, these are the things you need to figure out:

  • Who do you most want to meet at the show? Go through the conference materials and flag the talks and breakout sessions that your prospects are most likely to attend. If you want to meet a specific individual, see if they are giving a talk or if their company will have a booth.
  • What does a hot prospect look like? The thing about trade shows is that there is always a lot of enthusiasm. People are excited and feeling social. It can give you a false sense of confidence in someone’s interest – unless you know what makes someone a serious candidate for your product. If you only sell to multi-state health systems, then that helps you maintain perspective in the face of that enthusiastic physician in private practice. Sure, enjoy the conversation – but don’t get caught up in thinking you’re about to land a sale.
  • How do you plan to warm up cold prospects? To be clear, cold prospects are not people who will never be interested in your product. Rather, they are people who would be a perfect fit for what you offer – when they are ready. This could be (and, in healthcare, often is) two years down the road. How can you maintain their interest and warm up your relationship over time? This is where great white papers and studies are useful.

2) Qualify, qualify, qualify.

It may seem like everyone at a conference is standing around schmoozing but they’re not. In fact, they are sizing everybody up in terms of who is the most likely prospect for their business. In marketing, we call that qualifying your leads. That’s why you made a strategy – so you would be able to make those determinations.

Obviously, you want to be polite and welcoming to everyone you meet, but your hottest prospects are the ones who really need your time. Enthusiastic champions who won’t be buying for another two years need a warm welcome that gently steers them to a future conversation or an online interaction (that fabulous white paper, for instance).

3) Keep your eye on the goal with hot prospects.

Yes, you want to show your demo to your hottest prospects. But what you need is for them to have a memorable connection with you AND give you permission to follow up with them after the show.

This goes beyond getting permission to scan their badge. You want to learn something about their needs and interests so you can refer to them when you follow up.

So, be flexible in your approach. Don’t force a demo on them if they are more interested in the results of your pilot study. Listen and adapt to their interests. They may not remember much of your meeting but, if your follow-up speaks to what they indicate is important to them, you are likely to get a positive response.

You can get great leads at your next healthcare trade show.

Regardless of how much time you have to plan, or how much experience you have in exhibiting at conferences, you can come away with some great leads. Create a strategy, know how to qualify the people you meet and listen for what your hottest prospects are most interested in. That’s the key to successfully working your booth – and getting the leads you want from your investment.