Raise your hand if you have been visited by the tradeshow gypsies. People who go from show to show, grabbing hand fulls of the free logoed promos you have on your table, and have absolutely no intention of doing business with you.
In reality, there might be 3 to 10 prospects at a show that have real potential. Here is what to do to defend against the promo swipers and at the same time treat the top prospects with the respect they deserve.
While you need to have the inexpensive handouts for the masses, take the time before the show to giftwrap a handful of higher end gifts and keep them hidden behind the table. A nice Cross or Waterman pen with your logo on it are great ideas. If you know the size the prospect wears in advance, embroider your logo on a high end brand name apparel item such as Columbia, Nike, or Cutter & Buck. Review the list of attendees to see who you can expect, and plan accordingly. Giftwrapping the nicer item, letting the prospect know that you had hoped they would stop by, and then providing a more expensive, special vip gift will make a very strong impression. It means they were important enough that you took the time to prepare for them, and that will translate to the prospect big time. After the show when you follow up, odds are that cold call will not be so cold.
Have a Happy Passover and a Happy Easter. Thank you for listening.