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Lead retrieval is a term used to describe the process of quickly and easily generating lead lists during attendance at some sort of event, such as a trade show, a symposium or a convention. Typically, this means of collecting and organizing leads is managed electronically, scanning the badges worn by attendees and capturing essential contact data by means of a bar code present on each of the badges. The collected data can be downloaded and held for use after the event has completed or be immediately used to prepare and send follow-up emails, direct mail pieces, and other forms of communication to those leads.
This contemporary means of lead retrieval at different types of events requires that event organizers arrange for all presenters and attendees registered for the event be provided with name badges that include a bar code. Just as scanners in other settings are used to scan bar codes to obtain pricing or other information, the codes imprinted on the name badges provide essential information such as the individual’s name and position, the company name, mailing address, email address and even telephone and fax numbers. Using a scanner that is compatible with the system used to create the bar codes, exhibitors and other attendees can quickly scan the badges of people who are interested in further contacts and immediately save the data for use later.
One of the benefits of lead retrieval is that the process makes it much easier to collect sales leads at various types of events. In years past, the process often involved strategies like collecting business cards or having people sign up for drawings, and organizing the collected data manually in order to initiate additional contacts after the event. By using a simple handheld scanner to read the bar code found on the name badges of the attendees, all the data is captured electronically and is available for immediate download into a contact database. This save a great deal of time and makes it possible to initiate those later contacts in a shorter period of time, increasing the chance to convert leads into prospects and eventually into customers.
While lead retrieval strategies do save time and have the potential to increase the number of sales ultimately generated by attending an event, they have also led to the need to create and observe a new rule of business etiquette. Prior to actually scanning a badge and capturing data, salespeople and exhibitors will typically ask permission to do so. This allows the attendee the opportunity to decline or to permit the badge to be scanned. In a sense, following this approach to lead retrieval makes it easier to consider the contact as a qualified lead, rather than one that is still considered somewhat cold or casual.