Tips for successful trade show follow-up
PHEW! All of your hard work has finally paid off and the trade show has ended. Your booth and swag were on point and you made a lot of promising connections. Although you may feel like the show was a huge success, the most important part has yet to begin – follow up. A prompt post-show follow-up has the advantage of capitalizing on the motivational high from the trade show or convention itself. According to insidesales.com studies show that 35-50% of sales go to the first vendor to respond. That information alone shows that time is of the essence, especially when it comes to building meaningful client relationships.
Organization is key
If you are attending a number of trade shows, conventions, and networking events it is easy to find yourself buried in a mountain of business cards. Having an established protocol for follow-up is just as important as the real follow-up itself. Using your customer relationship management tool (CRM) and properly labeling where you met each lead will help you later with determining your return on investment (ROI).
Make it personal
When you exchange business cards make it a practice to use their card as a little cheat sheet. Jot some notes that will help you remember key details about the conversation you had with them. Say you both went to the same high school but different years, use that as a way to break the ice when following up. Even if you had a relaxed encounter while at your booth remember to maintain a level of professionalism in your e-mail or phone conversation. Network on social platforms such as LinkedIn or Twitter to create a more personal connection.
Keep it relevant
For all other leads without specific notes be sure to include them in a general follow-up thanking everyone who took the time to stop by your booth. Don’t confuse general with a copy and paste email. Use the event as the subject line and within the body of the email as well. Write the email as if you were conducting a call to action. Instead of offering the reader the opportunity to “learn more” insist they “watch our product testing video”. Include a photo of the booth swarmed by eager onlookers to remind the reader who your company was among the other exhibitors.
Trade shows are an investment and so are your leads so create a long-term plan to continue the conversation. Sending out a connection request on LinkedIn and an e-mail blast is not considered a strong follow-up. Those two attempts are not grounds for giving up, instead, you should attempt three or more follow-ups with a different message for each one. These attempts will keep you fresh in their mind and allow for easy remembrance when an opportunity arises.