Trade shows provide a unique chance to meet and interact with drivers. Being able to have personal interactions with the very people you are pursuing is not something to take for granted. Some, however, still find it difficult to take advantage of the recruiting opportunities these trade shows and events have to offer.
Regardless of what trucking trade show you are attending, there are a few things you can do to give you and your fleet the best chance to have recruiting success.
Go to where the drivers are.
If you want to increase your recruiting success at trade shows, you have to make sure the shows you attend are actually attracting drivers. There’s a lot of different shows out there of varying sizes and popularity, but not all shows are not created equal.
Try to focus on events or shows that drivers find attractive.
Does the trade show feature events or attractions that will attract drivers?
Trade shows are beginning to offer more and more these days. Attending shows is both costly and time-consuming, so making sure to get the most bang for your buck is very important. With that in mind, find the shows that have that something extra to attract the drivers you are after.
Things like celebrity appearances, music concerts, custom truck contests, or health screenings all help to stimulate driver interest. When more drivers attend, you have the opportunity to interact with and possibly get more drivers to commit to your fleet.
But attending the right show is only part of a successful driver recruiting strategy. Once you are at the show you still have to attract drivers.
Get the drivers to your booth.
Let’s say you’ve done your due diligence and found a show that you think will be perfect for you. It is well established with a respectable number of booths. But best of all there will free health screenings and everyone’s favorite 80’s rock band front man, Mr. David Lee Roth (Van Halen, not Van Hagar) is going to be performing some of his biggest hits…bluegrass style.
Free screenings and DLR spells a big driver turnout. But once they’ve visited the Dr. and rocked their faces off, how can you make sure they pay you and your booth a visit?
You have to make sure drivers know you will be attending the show to generate interest and get them to your booth. Leading up to the event make the most of your marketing reach through print and digital. If possible, try to get your hands on an event attendee list. Use that list to crossmatch with your database (or data you have access to through a third-party such as Randall-Reilly) to identify new prospects and learn if any of your current clients will be attending the show. Remember, you want to create a buzz about your presence at the show and the goal is to have people actively looking for you on the floor. So, if you know who is coming you can lay some valuable groundwork and target them via emails or on social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Even if you can’t obtain the attendee list, use social media to target the companies you find most desirable. Just remember to always include the date, location, and be sure to end with come at see us at _________show.
Social Media Posts
Much like the rest of the world, drivers have embraced the online world of social media. You can bet there will be plenty of cell phone pictures and selfies being uploaded to Facebook and Twitter at the show. Use that to your advantage. Drivers are on social media, you should be too. Send out Facebook posts or Tweets in advance letting drivers know where they can find you. During the show post about all the stuff happening at your booth. Unpaid posts are fine, but with organic reach dwindling, investing in paid ads on social media or going the extra mile with geo-targeting for truck stops or near the show location will help get the word out.
Have a Giveaway or Drawing
Do you like free stuff? I like free stuff. Let’s be honest everyone loves free stuff. Why not I don’t know, give away some free stuff? Hats, pens, and the seemingly never out of style stress ball are all fun options. While you’re at it, send out one of those social media posts we were talking about showcasing your great swag. It doesn’t have to be something extravagant or crazy. You just want to get something in their hands with your fleet name on it. Giveaways and drawings are a great way to get drivers to your booth and help you capture new lead information. It’s an easy way to get a large pool of potential drivers. When trying to attract large groups at once remember to include qualifying questions early in your apps to help you filter out any drivers that do not meet your requirements.
You want to make your booth as interesting as possible. Take advantage of all the technology we have access to today. Bring a couple flat screen TV’s and play promotional videos, pump out some good tunes with a stereo system, or draw the drivers in with interactive displays utilizing touch screen computers or tablets. In addition to giving your booth a fresh feel, tech like tablets make it faster and more convenient to capture new lead information by having your digital applications ready to go on them. You don’t have to go crazy, but sprucing up a dull booth with a touch of modern tech can give you some extra appeal.
You’re at the right show for you with lots of great prospects milling around and your booth is generating some good traffic. Now what? How can you try to close the deal?
Give the drivers the attention they deserve.
As important as choosing the right trade show and attracting the drivers to your booth is, in the end it still comes down that personal interaction we talked about. The unique interactions and the ability to meet with drivers face-to-face is the thing that makes trade shows attractive possibilities to begin with.
Once you’re there in the middle of it, with all the noise and bustle all around you it can be easy to lose sight of your goal. Recruit drivers.
You have to make sure the prospective drivers are your number one priority.
This means no getting lost on your new iPhone game or surfing the web for hours on end. When drivers come to your booth make eye contact and engage them. Never make them feel like they are not important. It’s for this reason you want to make sure you bring the right people with you to man your booth. The more personable or outgoing, the better. Bring a real driver or two who has been with the fleet to foster a driver to driver interaction.
Make sure your booth set up to encourage personal interaction. Try avoid a large table blocking access to your booth. This could discourage prospects from stepping in and talking with you. If you have materials to share with them place them at the back of the booth where they are easily accessible but not obstructing your area.
Whether it’s talking them through the ins and outs of your fleet, handing out some free goodies, or just having a nice conversation, give drivers the attention they deserve.
Follow-up after the show.
The hard work doesn’t end after the show. Now it’s time to follow-up with all the leads you managed to accumulate. Be sure to reach out to them to let them know you care and are still interested.
To be successful at any trade show it’s crucial you have some form of tracking your leads. Lead scanning is great way to not only track the leads gained, but also allows you to score them.
Lead Scan Scoring:
- Lead A: Top priority lead. Full application has been completed and the prospect is ready for orientation.
- Lead B: Only a partial application. More information is needed from the driver to move forward.
- Lead C: No application was completed, but you gained contact information. Follow up after the show with a phone call or email.
No matter how much information you have gained from your new leads it’s always nice to send follow-up emails or social media messages to thank them for stopping by and chatting at the show. Include questions to try to encourage a conversation and maximize their engagement. Feed them valuable content to stay at the top of their mind and become a trusted source of information.
Effectively recruiting at trade shows could be the missing piece of your recruiting strategy. Remember these steps and you’ll be well on your way to achieving the success you’re after.