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The Importance of a Trade Show Follow Up Plan

Christine O'Kelly
Jun 13, 2008
One area typically neglected by exhibitors in trade show marketing plans is trade show follow up. If sales leads are not handled in a timely and efficient manner, even successful trade show experiences end up being a waste of money. The best time for creating trade show follow up techniques is before attending a trade show. The end of trade show follow up only happens after a sales lead gives a definitive yes or no answer.

Making a Plan for Trade Show Follow Up

To be effective, businesses should include a plan for trade show follow up as part of a trade show marketing plan. Businesses should first plan for the best method of collecting information, whether by asking for business cards or having a signup sheet. Businesses should also profile the perfect type of customer so that booth staff members know the best visitors to focus their attention on. For instance, a business may seek customers of a certain age, need, or industry. Instructing booth staff members to make notes about each sales lead is vital for efficient trade show follow up since it allows for more personalized follow up.

Sort Sales Leads Every Day

To ease the process of trade show follow up, booth staff members should organize sales leads at the end of every day. This ensures well-sorted leads full of vital information. One of the best ways to sort sales leads is by category, including hot, medium, and cold. In addition, business may want to further organize sales leads by the preferred method of contact.

Select a Method of Follow Up

The system of trade show follow up may not seem too vital, but in actuality, the method of trade show follow up can make or break a sale. Listening to customers and giving them what they wish will usually lead to a sale. That is why contacting a sales lead per their instructions is important. For example, sales leads often request contact either via e-mail, phone, fax, or even in person. By contacting a sales lead in the fashion they request, a business shows appreciation to that lead for coming by their trade show booth. Always send a thank you note to any lead providing their contact information.

Follow Up Immediately

Do not wait for trade show follow up. A business should pursue trade show follow up immediately after the show ends. This ensures the products and services should still be fresh in the minds of sales leads. Usually, the best method for trade show follow up is to contact the "hot," or most promising, sales leads first. Then, continue on, contacting all sales leads. It typically requires several times to make a sale to a contact. The first trade show follow up should be no later than two weeks after the booth contact, especially because it is viable that the customer left information at competing trade show booths.

Failing to plan for trade show follow up will make even good trade show marketing efforts fail. Falling short when it comes to trade show follow up can mean lost sales. If businesses make a plan and complete trade show follow up, they will organize leads, contact leads efficiently, and increase sales and profits for years.
About the Author
Christine OKelly is an author for trade show marketing consultant Jonathan Edelman. Jonathan is the founder of Ideas 4 Now, a trade show marketing company offering products such as Customized Popcorn Machines that drive traffic to trade show booths and also the founder of the premier trade show vendors directory Trade Show Vendors.com.
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