Trade Show Follow Up: When Failure Is Not An Option

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Now that the Consumer Electronics Show has come to a close,  it’s a good time to take a look at one of the most vital (but often overlooked) parts of any trade show event… follow up.
Smart business people view their time at a trade show as an investment. You want to expose yourself to new ideas… meet new acquaintance… raise questions at seminars… be seen at the social events… in other words, actively participate all you can. In fact, doing all you can to be a part of the event that people remember (in a good way) later on is what  Promotional Consultant Today, suggests will maximize your opportunities at any show.
Once the trade show wraps up it’s critical that you follow up on the leads you’ve gotten… and follow up fast. Most experts agree getting in touch within a week (or less) is what you’re after. If you haven’t already thought about how you’ll score (decision makers, budget size, timetable) leads and what type of follow up they’ll get, you’ll need to do that first. Even if you do end up sending the same marketing package to every lead, personalize the communication in whatever way you can so that you make a start at building a relationship.
You can follow up on trade show leads in lots of ways — regular printed mail pieces, email messages, phone calls or personal visits. You may want to create a few different response packages to speak to different types of leads:

  • one with a special offer that carries a strong call to action
  • one with additional details (fact sheets, case studies) or selling points of your product/service
  • one that includes an article or other information you may have discussed

When it comes to personalizing a message to accompany the follow up, it’s best if you can refer to the conversation you had with the person on the show floor. Otherwise, show how your product might solve a problem for them. Of course, if they asked, send specifics.
If all else fails, you can always fall back on something simple. A neatly handwritten —
Dear (Lead First Name),
It was great to see you at (event name here). I was able to find the information we discussed so I’m sending it along. Be in touch soon to talk more,
Your name and number
Your goal with trade show follow up is to make this one potential customer feel like you listened, heard and responded to their needs. Personalized follow up, delivered quickly, goes a long way to doing just that.
It also makes sense to share your experiences at a trade show when you get back to the office… even if you only have a one or two person staff. New ideas. Upcoming trends. Meeting prospective customers and others. Reactions to products. Sharing these details with those around you is a smart way to maximize the investment you’ve made in going to the show.
So… before you head out to that next event, be sure you get the most out of your trade show investment by remembering the three P‘s (according to Promotional Consultant Today) of successful trade shows — planning, participation and post event. You might also consider working with a fully trained promotional products consultant to find the booth items that make yours a standout, or the giveaways that really generate some buzz.

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