Many businesses small and large who decide to market their products or ideas using a trade show display put a great deal of planning into their booths, giveaways, presentations, etc. They’ve thought long and hard about how to entice people over to their trade show display to get leads and make new contacts. All too often though there aren’t any plans made for lead follow up after the show is over. This is unfortunate because this lack of a follow up plan is usually a big source of missed opportunities; and no one has time for those! But, what can you do? How can you be sure you make the most of each trade show lead you get?
What Happens When the Trade Show Display Is Over?
A good place to begin is by creating plan. Just as you’d plan for the trade show, plan for lead follow up. Don’t wait until after the show to decide what to do. Instead, make deciding how to follow up on your leads after the show just as important a part of your pre-show planning as deciding what trade show banner to use for example. You’ll likely find your decisions about lead follow up will influence the information you gather from visitors at the show and, as a result, your hand outs, questionnaires, and more. Plus, you’ll be better prepared to make the most of the interactions you have with visitors during the show and after.
During the planning stages you’ll also want to save a date shortly after you return from the trade show to focus on lead follow up. If you leave this part of the plan out, you may end up waiting until your leads cool a bit and they may forget you. Worse, you’ll give other trade show exhibitors a chance to contact these potential customers first.
You’ll need to decide what really constitutes a lead too. Is it a certain available budget, a promise of product purchase, something else? Decide before the trade show so you can ask the right questions and get the best leads possible. This will also make follow up easier as you can be more certain you’re spending time on leads that have a higher probability of meeting your goals.
There will also need to be an individual or two designated to perform the actual task of following up with the leads. While this doesn’t have to necessarily be done pre show, it can be helpful. This way, everyone knows who is responsible for what and nothing will fall through the cracks.
Last but not least, you’ll have to decide what you’ll actually do to followup. Will you send a post card, an email, a personal letter, etc., or, should you make an actual phone call? Maybe the method of followup will change with the type or level of lead it is. Whatever you do, try to include a form of your logo with your name and contact info clearly printed on it, and, if possible, some personal memory from your conversation at your trade show display. These seemingly small gestures can go a long way toward transforming that initial meeting at the show into an actual beneficial business transaction.
For all the reasons we’ve listed here and more, you’ll find a solid pre-show plan for follow up with leads after the trade show will go a long way toward maximizing the ROI of your trade show display. Be sure to take the minimal time required before the next event you attend to make decisions about how to follow up with your trade show leads and you’ll see just what we mean!