Exhibiting at a trade show can be a great way to promote your business, but to make the most of your investment it’s imperative to plan for and execute appropriate follow-up tactics. Before the show, plan ahead for the extra work you’ll have following up with prospects after the show. Adjust schedules or delegate responsibilities to allow you and your sales team to focus on follow-up. You should aim to follow up with your “hot” leads within 24 hours of the conclusion of the show, and the rest of your leads within two weeks. This means having your follow-up plan and materials prepared ahead of time. Remember, show attendees saw a multitude of other companies exhibiting; so you can’t rely on prospects to contact you. You need to be proactive in contacting them.

1. Select the right form of communication. Send a personal thank-you email from the staff person who spoke with the contact at the show, or a personalized letter with the information the contact requested. If you offered a trade show special, send a reminder about the expiration date and an invitation to redeem it. Post an update on your Web site thanking visitors who came to your booth.

2. Personalize your greeting. Don’t send a mass mail or e-mail to “Dear Trade Show Attendee.” You should have collected the names of the attendees you met during the show; use them to customize your mail pieces. If you jotted notes about your conversation, personalize the communication even more by responding to a question they had or sending specific literature pieces they inquired about. The more personal you can make the communication, the greater the impact it will have.

3. Follow up your initial contact with a phone call. Assuming you choose to send a direct mail piece or an email, follow it up with a quick phone call. This personal approach shows you truly valued your conversation and will be more powerful. Inquire if they received the mailing or email and if they had any further questions, or if they would like to schedule a private appointment.

4. Ask for a response. Whatever form of communication you select, it should include a powerful call to action. Whether it’s to schedule a meeting, tour, or demonstration; visit the Web site, redeem a show special, or purchasing information. Tell contacts what the next step they should take is.

5. Offer an alternative to purchase. Not all contacts are going to be ready to buy. They may just not be that far along in the sales cycle, or they may not have enough information about your company or product yet. The appropriate follow-up tactic for them is not a hard-sell “buy now” call to action but rather a “learn more” call to action. Offer them a way to learn more about your company or product. In doing so you will build their trust and eventually earn their business. There are many options for providing additional information: send them a brochure, white paper, or enewsletter, or invite them to visit your blog, attend your next Webinar, or view a promotional video.

To maximize your trade show results, you need to be proactive. Having a plan in place for follow-up is essential to quick, effective follow up.

For help with your trade show, contact AVS Group.


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