After attending a Trade Show or Convention there is one crucial thing to remember, make sure you don’t lose the momentum! Impressions from the show may linger for a few days to a week but taper off quickly afterward, so you'll want to tap into the buzz while it's fresh.
If you're trying to Convince your Boss to Let you Attend a Trade Show or Convention next year you're gonna want to follow these 10 steps to stay connected to the innovations that advance your business objectives.
#1 Segment Materials
Go through all the materials you received at the trade show and group them by the product and services that your most interested in learning about.
If there is a supplier listing or portal, make sure you register and complete all documentation to be considered for future RFQ’s.
Identify if the costs of attending; admission, hotels, travel, other expenses and your time. Did the amount of new knowledge and connections make your attendance worthwhile? Evaluate what went well, what didn't, and what could be improved for next time. Keep it real - don't suggest "better weather" for next year. Pay special attention to feedback regarding communication to prospective customers. The "lessons learned" will help improve your efforts for future trade shows.
#4 Add Prospects right away
Did you know 79% of all Exhibit leads generated are not followed-up! Add the business cards you collected to your CRM for further nurturing and tracking. Make notes about the contacts interests or any other information helpful for follow up. Label contacts source as "trade show", so later when it leads to an order you can put a monetary value on success of attendance.
#5 Email within a Week
Send a personalized email within 3 days (up to 1 week) after the trade show. Ask open-end questions (not yes/no answers). Make note of their type of business and specific needs that you picked up on at the event. Make sure to fulfill lead requests or promises and include a call to action like visit website, blog post, white paper download.
If you decide to send a bulk non-personalized email, which is not ideal, be sure to us the bcc (blind carbon copy) field so that recipients are restricted to seeing their own email address. You don't want it to actually look like you're send a bulk email.
#6 Call within 2 weeks
Pick up the phone and call contacts within 1-2 weeks. You may not call everyone you emailed but perhaps the people you made a special connection with.
#7 Send Mail within 1-2 weeks
That's right, snail mail! Within 1 to 2 weeks of the trade show send your physical marketing collateral (letter, brochure, thank you card, promotional items) along with a hand written note and your business card.
#8 Connect on LinkedIn
Connect with the new contacts on LinkedIn and endorse them, pay it forward! Join in the conversation, join groups that new contacts are in. If you haven't already, follow the Trade Show's LinkedIn group page .
Don’t be afraid to give referrals and to ask for referrals from your new found contacts.
#10 Keep in touch
Stay top of mind by scheduling to touch base quarterly. Plan future written follow-up, special offers, new products/services, etc.
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