As any industrial marketing professional knows, trade shows are not getting any less expensive. Between the exhibit and travel costs your budget can quickly balloon to truly astronomical proportions. So in today’s all things digital and social selling world is there still a place for trade shows in your industrial marketing arsenal? The answer is yes. But, having said that, these ever-increasing trade show costs mean you better have optimized every part of your trade show plan. Nowhere is this truer than follow up.
Trade shows can be exhausting for your staff. They have to be on point throughout their shifts at the booth. It can be more than a little tiring “pitching” all day and night. Many of your staff may have traveled a great distance. Some of your staff may have been having too many late nights and early mornings during the show.
Oftentimes, your staff gets back to the office to face a mountain of paperwork and they let the trade show follow up take a backseat. This is a major mistake as the key to successful follow up is timeliness. You need to follow up with every lead as fast as possible—every time.
What this means is the best way to follow up a trade show is to have a systematic follow up plan in place long before you attend the show. Fortunately your follow up system can be both simple and effective. So here’s what to do.
First, ask for reasonable commitment from the prospects you meet at your booth. Badge scanning at the booth does not represent a sufficient level of prospect interest. For this reason you need to insist on getting business cards or contact information with email addresses on your lead cards at the booth. If a prospect is unwilling to make this small of a commitment they are unlikely to be willing to make a greater commitment later.
Second, for the duration of the trade show send a single email at the end of the day to each lead you obtained on that day. This email needs to reference the fact you met at the trade show and that you will be following up by phone on a specific day and time. It proves to the prospect you are organized and professional.
Third, be certain to follow up on the date and time mentioned in your email and continue to follow up until you reach your lead. Then simply requalify your lead and take the appropriate action.
It really is that easy.