For many of you, September will see you exhibiting at your first trade show for a long time.  Whether it’s Lunch! or Speciality Fine Food Show I should imagine you will have feelings of excitement and nervousness; wondering if all the buyers are going to show up, are they going to notice you, will you make your money back from the show – the list of questions and worries is pretty long! I am sure you will have spent months preparing, creating a great stand, fantastic marketing material and getting any extra staff to help lined up so I hope you have a successful show and enjoy it too!

When you finally pack up post-show and head back to HQ exhausted don’t be fooled into thinking that’s the show over and done with!  It’s at this very point when the really hard work kicks in!   You need to convert those interested leads into actual customers!

Here’s my Top 5 Tips of how to achieve this:

  1. Follow up all your leads within 24 – 48 hours with a simple “thank you for visiting your stand” email. This is not only polite to acknowledge their interest in your brand but it also gives you more time to then work methodically through the leads to answer them in more detail, knowing that everyone has at least had some contact from you. Draft and get the email set up before the show so that it is ready to go out as soon as you have your list of visitors emails read.
  2. Follow up every lead until there is an answer. This takes a lot of patience and tenacity. You can often get swept away with the day to day running of your business.  Don’t forget however that you invested in the show to presumably gain more business – so the follow ups are just as critical as the show itself – maybe even more so.
  3. If you don’t have a CRM system in place, make sure you have at least a spreadsheet set up where you can track all your follow ups and the action needed and by which date.
  4. This may sound obvious– but I see a lot of people fall down here – make sure you set aside enough time after the show to do all the follow ups in the subsequent weeks. This may mean clearing your diary for a couple of weeks or even getting in extra help with the day to day running of the business for a few weeks so that you can focus on the follow ups. Don’t underestimate how much time you should devote to converting these leads into customers.
  5. Finally communicate with your social media community and write a post-show blog to show your followers how the show was for you, include photos, feedback and any other exciting news about the show – it all helps to keep your brand at front of mind.

Good luck!  If you have any questions on this topic, please email me at [email protected]