A day An event in the life of... a Leads Capture Executive

Introducing Richard Wareing

I’m a salesman so I’m never happier than when I’m talking to people, trying to promote a product or service. Happily, most of my days at LiveBuzz are spent that way.

As part of the five-strong Exhibitor Services team, my job is to ensure that exhibitors at our events get as much as they possibly can from their presence at a show. In my case, that often means talking up the advantages of the two types of scanner (hand-held and app-based) we make available to exhibitors to capture the details of everyone they talk to on their stand.

It shouldn’t be a hard sell. After all, isn’t that one of the primary reasons for exhibiting in the first place; capturing leads which could lead to business in the future?

You would be forgiven for assuming so. However, it’s amazing how often exhibitors will see it as one cost too many.

I can partially understand that. Exhibitions are costly undertakings. It’s not just the cost of the stand or its furniture. There are also hotel costs, travel, marketing activity and the productivity lost from time away from the office. Yet saving money on the processes you use for capturing valuable sales intelligence seems like a false economy to me.

So, that’s the basis of my daily sales patter; getting exhibitors to understand that old school pen-and-paper data capture or business card collections should be consigned to the history books. When I’m on the phone, I’ll also be checking that they’ve sorted their exhibitor badges and will deal with any other queries they might have relating to their online LiveBuzz Exhibitor Hub.  

Clearly, I’m not on the phone all the time. I now spend an increasingly large part of my time out at events, where I’m the go-to guy for any exhibitor queries relating to scanners and data. Two years into my time at LiveBuzz, I hope I can now be a reassuring onsite presence in that regard.

I’ll also be liaising with the event organiser, making sure that everything is in order with their seminar programme scanners (which are used to scan visitors as they arrive at a seminar room), as well as ensuring that the main entrance scanners are uploaded regularly so the onsite technical team can provide up to the minute data to the client.

There can be a funny dynamic at events where exhibitors are using the scanners for the first time. They can get a bit stressed out; they’re often making last minute changes to their stand and might not have had time to take onboard all the info on how to use the scanners. I give them a quick demo, reassure them that everything is working properly and show how they’ll be able to access their data instantly. After a bit of hand-holding and training, they soon get the hang of it and I’m everyone’s best friend again.

I don’t mind that though; it’s a good way of building up rapport and goodwill with the exhibitors. Exhibitors who start off being dead set against using the scanners are typically converted to saying they wouldn’t dream of exhibiting without them in future.

I try to be really proactive when I’m onsite.  Just before the show opens, I’ll be racing around the stands to ensure the stragglers who left it late to collect their hand-held devices are ready to scan before the visitors start to arrive. During the show, I’ll then visit all the stands where people have scanners; not only to ensure they’re ok with the scanning process but also to check they’re actually using them! 

I like that mix of spending time at events and then hitting the phones back in the office. I’m not good at spending extended periods in the same place. For me, the highlight of my job is that lightbulb moment an exhibitor has when they realise how much more effective their exhibitor presence could be if they use the scanners.

Using manual data capture, it could be days after the event before they finally start following up on their leads. Even then, will they have captured all the details of the context of that original conversation on stand? Probably not. The scanners can capture all that info and allow exhibitors to be hitting their phones the very next day.

I met an exhibitor recently who said he had no interest in using the scanners. Halfway through our conversation, he then remembered how he’d been thinking just that morning about who in his office might have a spare day to transcribe all his notes, go through all the business cards he’d collected and create a spreadsheet of leads. Lightbulb moment. That’s what I’m talking about.