I was a visitor at a trade show about trade show displays earlier this year where all of the exhibitors were suppliers, manufacturers or service suppliers of the exhibit industry. Rather than collecting 100 lbs of brochures and samples at the show that I would just have cram into my suitcase and haul home, I simply asked most exhibitors I was interested in to send me a brochure or contact me after the show. Most exhibitors even had scanners that scanned my badge giving them a detailed listing of who I was instantly. While some of the follow-up was well done and we gained several valuable new suppliers and products from the show, I would estimate that at least 35% of the exhibitors failed to contact me within two months of the show and 25% have never made contact and the show was over 6 months ago.
So your feet are killing you from spending the last several days standing in your trade show displays working the crowd. You have a long list of leads and you are now a week behind on your regular workload when you get back to the office, what do you do?
Most people would say that it is common sense to call or send follow-up collateral materials to each of the leads, but in fact one of the biggest mistakes people make with trade shows is not following up on leads. I know that sometimes following up is easier said than done and is time-consuming. Often the people working the show floor have many responsibilities and when they return to their office after a show, they are bombarded with other things and the list gets buried under the huge pile on their desk and is forgotten.
I suggest that you break up the list of leads that you have into smaller groups. Set a goal of sending so many e-mail or phone calls per day and before you know it, you’ll be done. Even if it takes six weeks to finish the list it will be worth it because most of your leads are people who are genuinely interested in your company or product. They have asked you to follow-up with more information which will dramatically increase your chances of closing the sale and help you realize that trade show displays can be a very powerful marketing tool, if they get the attention they deserve.