6 Tips for Trade Show Follow-Up Success

About a month ago, I posted 10 Ways to Improve Your Trade Show Results. Thanks for all the comments, re-posts, and RT’s. A recap on ways to improve your trade show:

1. Hold a contest or giveaway
2. Network with other exhibitors
3. Set goals and give expectations to the booth staff
4. Train, train, and train some more
5. Teach your staff how to ask open-ended questions
6. Promote interactivity
7. Don’t allow staffers to congregate at the back of the booth
8. Don’t sit down
9. Don’t make it difficult for people to visit
10. And the number one rule is… SMILE

Last week, we exhibited at the NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis. What a great show, organization, and facility. I want to brag on Team TKO. In three days – actually, 17 hours of open booth time – we collected almost 200 leads (okay, 194). That’s great. It’s wonderful. Looks like the show paid for itself… not quite.

What Should You Do After The Show?

If, like TKO, you followed the 10 points, and were successfully gathering leads and info, what’s next?

1. Don’t wait, get started. You say you’re B2B and you don’t expect immediate orders. Even so, you need to get your name out there quick, or they may forget who you are and what you do.

2. Organize the information on a spreadsheet. It should include contact info, including: phone number, mailing address, and email, along with notes and follow-up results. Do this as soon as you get back to the office, or sooner. Card scanners are great for this.

3. Send an email. If someone gives you his or her email address, I believe it’s okay to send one email. Ask permission for future emails, or direct them to your opt-in e-newsletter. Announce a discount or special offer (with a time limit) for show attendees. This should be the first call to action from the spreadsheet.

4. Make a phone call. Introduce yourself, check notes on the spreadsheet, and ask how you may help them. Leave a message only once, and be sure to include your contact info. Start on phone calls as soon as the emails have been sent. Our 200 leads will be divided between seven employees to manage. Figure at least twenty calls per day / per employee.

5. Mail a personal hand-written note. Yes… really. Do you remember the last time you received a handwritten note? What did you think? Once again, divide and share the list. Always check notes in the spreadsheet — they may give you something to write about. Start the snail mail after all calls are completed.

6. Track the results. Use the results column to track inquiries, estimates, and orders. Without this information, how would you know the ROI? Was it a good show? Should we go back? There may be existing client and branding opportunities that justify returning, however a positive ROI would certainly indicate repeating the event — just sayin’.

Wrapping It Up

So there it is — how to work the show, and how to follow up. Probably everything you needed to run a successful trade show/event program. Wrong brochure, breath-boy. That’s how to develop a display (We do that… TKO would love to help you!). Next up… how to select productive shows, how to prepare your trade show staff, how to stay fresh and upbeat while working a show, how to… more to come.

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