You must follow up your trade show leads !
Post trade show evaluation and trade show leads follow-up are two of the most overlooked aspects of trade show participation. These activities are where many trade show exhibitors fail usually because of a couple of reasons.
You return to the office to find your voicemail is overflowing; your inbox full of emails and you need check on your current projects and sales.
There’s an assumption that all the trade show leads you met at the show will phone you because you gave them a brochure and they are certain to remember you.
Therefore, it’s suggested that you first follow-up with all urgent issues immediately and deal with existing client matters that have arisen while you’ve been away. Then put aside all other non-critical matters and start your trade show leads follow-up.
By following up on your trade show leads right after the show tells your customers and prospects that your company cares about them and is responsive. According to the CEIR (Center for Exhibition Industry Research) over 80% of all trade show leads never receive post-event sales follow-up, so take your competitors’ customers and increase your show’s ROI -follow-up on your trade show leads!
Just to reinforce this point, an astounding 43% of prospective buyers receive materials after they have made a buying decision with another vendor, while 18% report never receiving materials at all.
You must have a plan for immediate, post trade show leads follow-up.
The day after the show, your pile of trade show leads is worth 100 percent of its value. A month after the show, the leads are worth half of that, yet it still costs 100 percent in company time and resources to follow them up. Prepare all follow-up materials before the show. Identify necessary codes; write cover letters, order materials and postage.
Hot prospects cool quickly. One way to prevent them from becoming lukewarm is to send follow-up information during the show. Prior to the show, prepare product information packages at your office, and either leave them with an assistant or transport them to the show. At each day’s end, address your packages to those hot prospects and drop them in the mail
Most trade shows do not end when the doors are closed and the key to success is to prioritize your post trade show activities.
In order to achieve maximum results, the period after the exhibition is the most important phase of the whole exhibition project. First of all, you have to be quick to follow up contacts made during the trade show and you have to be consistent and methodical in your approach. Sort your trade show leads either by their business potential (A, B, or C leads) or the information requested.
Steps to an effective follow-up are:
1. Trade show sales leads should be prioritized according to urgency.
2. Leads should be followed up immediately.
3. On an ongoing basis pursue leads.
4. Track leads to provide some measure of return on investment.
Post trade show follow-up is essential to making the most of your investment. As soon as you return from the trade show, (or certainly within 48 hours) you should phone or email all serious trade show leads and prospects to say “thank you” for stopping by at your booth; extend any offers made at the trade show and offer any product/service solutions.
by Ken MacKenzie – 2010
Ken MacKenzie is a former Senior Consultant with International Public Relations and Marketing Manager with a U.S. Trade Center. He is the author of “The Trade Show Edge”.