of Following Up
Peter Eberly, Director
Product and Vertical Marketing
It’s easy to become consumed with all of the details involved in preparing for a trade show or event. So much to do. So little time.
Unfortunately, all of your hard work can be for naught if you neglect what some argue is the most important step — following up.
The follow-up email, call or in-person meeting can set the stage for the tone of the entire relationship.
According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, meeting a prospective customer at an exhibition versus in the field saves an organization $943 per meeting. The Center also reported that it takes an average of 4.5 sales calls to close a sale without an exhibition lead. Adding an exhibition lead into the mix drops the number to 3.5 calls to close a sale.
These tips will help ensure your follow-up hits the mark:
- Not all leads are created equal. All too often, all leads are passed along to sales without considering the quality. Every person who stops by your booth is not going to be a decision- maker. Some will come by for swag or because they have a passing interest in your solutions. Evaluate the leads you get before turning them over to sales.
- While we’re on the subject, are you sure you’re getting the information that sales wants and needs to start the sales process? Involving sales in your process earlier rather than later can minimize issues down the road.
- Use the time you have to make a connection. Often trade show interactions are fleeting but every once in a while, there’s an opportunity to have a more in-depth conversation with someone who stops by your booth. If you meet someone at a trade show, spend time connecting with that person about what’s important to them related to work and personally.
- Do your research. Meeting someone briefly at a trade show does not mean that you have an instant connection. It’s important to spend some time learning about the person before following up so that you can send a more personal message. Spend some time researching online. Maybe you have mutual LinkedIn connections or Facebook friends. Social media is making the world smaller every day. You may be surprised at who you know in common. If you are lucky enough to know people in common, make a quick call or send an email to your mutual friend or acquaintance to learn more about what’s important to the person you’re trying to connect with. Social media also is a great way to follow up with low pressure.
- Don’t be creepy. This may sound obvious but everyone has a different line for familiarity. Once you’ve done some research, it’s important to use the information wisely. Craft your messages carefully and don’t overshare information you’ve learned. There’s a fine line between being interesting and creepy. You don’t want to scare away the possible new connection by being too familiar.
- Connect with the right person. Always ask if the person you are reaching out to is the appropriate person to speak with or more importantly, the decision-maker. Sometimes employees will try to shield managers from queries by saying they are the decision-maker and will turn down your request.
- Be persistent. People are busy and if they don’t get to you right away, your email or voicemail can easily fall to the bottom of their pile of work. If they aren’t sure about whether to move forward with your company, they also can put you off.
- Add value in each follow-up. Persistence without added value is pestering.
It’s easy to be exhausted after all of the work preparing for a trade show. Putting in the extra effort to ensure your follow-up is good will pay off and will boost your trade show ROI.