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If you are currently planning your marketing budget for next year you have probably thought of a lunch and learn and a trade show as ways for lead generation. Either of them have their merits but you have to decide what your purpose for the event is? Do you want a mass or targeted prospect? I have written a previous blog on this matter. Let’s explore:

Trade Show:

  • Spy on Competition – Where else can you send a few people to your competitions location to gather data and they are open to give it?
  • Wide Audience – You can hit a wide group of people in your target market in a short span and gather data quickly for a lead nurturing campaign.
  • Recruiting Distributors and Dealers – There will be prospects as well as people who you can connect with that will be able to resell your products or services
  • Cost Per Prospect – a booth can be anywhere from $1 to $500 depending on the number of people attending and the cost of the booth.
  • Market Research – A great place to survey a large group of people about your current and/or future products and services.

Lunch & Learn:

    • Focus –  You can concentrate on pre-qualified prospects and then focus on those not ready to purchase now and put them in a lead nurturing campaign for further lead scoring and qualification.
    • Targeted Audience – Your pre-qualified prospects can be targeted from previous lead nurture campaigns, specific lists, previous or current customers. You can select who hears your message. It will not be just someone random.
    • Time Spent With Prospect – Once you are at the lunch and learn you have the prospects attention for longer than a few seconds as they pass by your booth. You do not have to worry about a mass appeal and the prospect will be in a more relaxed atmosphere.
    • Learn More About Prospect – Because you are able to spend more time with the prospect and hopefully you have had the prospect go through some pre-qualifiers, you will be able to ask more specific questions geared towards their challenges and solutions.
    • More Qualified Prospect –You will have a more qualified prospect that will allow you to shorten the sales cycle, increase your profitability, and have the ability to increase your value as a trusted advisor.

 

It really boils down to what are your goals of the event? Do you want a mass or targeted prospect? Are you looking to gather data or give a specific message? It is really up to you to decide? Think of this: how long of a sales cycle are you to have for 2012? Can you afford in today’s economic climate to wait for that prospect to reach out to you; or, do you want to take an active approach in your lead generation and lead nurturing going into 2010?  The Decision is yours.

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You have many ways of generating leads for your business: mailers, fliers, phone book advertisements, radio, and television. As well, there are networking activities like joining a particular group, sharing your experiences, learning about others experiences, and using word of mouth. You also have trade shows, where you can meet (at a good one) hundreds to thousands of people and as they stop by your booth or you stop by theirs. There is Internet Marketing, where there are keywords and search engine optimization activities that are designed to drive traffic to your website and have people interact with your call-to-action items on the web. All of these are good ways to generate leads and each have different levels of tracking, effectiveness and return on investment.

Another, tried and true ways of pitching your businesses’ goods or services to a group of prospects is a lunch and learn. Where you get a group of anywhere from 20 to 40 people in a room, feed them a good meal (sometimes there is a giveaway) and you hopefully have a captive audience for a hour to a hour and a half to relationship build and pitch your solutions, goods, and/or services.

Measuring the return on investment on a lunch and learn is easy. You take the cost of the event. For an example let’s say $2,000.00. You want to invite 20 targeted prospects to the event. Then divide the total cost ($2,000.00) by the number of prospects you would like to attend (20) and you have $100.00 per prospect to attend your lunch and learn event.

Then take the margin of a single solution, good, or service that you would like to talk about specifically (typically you would only pitch one concept). For a $10,000.00 solution at a 6% margin you have $600.00 in margin. You would need to sell four solutions to pay for the event; average close ratio is 20%. You should pay for the event and have 16 new targeted prospects to put into a lead nurturing campaign for the future as well as four new customers for your sales representatives to dig deeper and find more opportunities.

There are many ways for generating leads for your company and each have their different return on investment of time and money. One of the proven ways is a lunch and learn event. You have a captive audience that is there not only for a good meal but wants to hear about your business and how you can help make their lives easier.

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