If you are planning on utilizing trade show events to promote your business, you need to understand just how important it is to follow up once the show is over. Many business owners fail to follow up because they get busy or they don’t feel like it is worth the time. They are missing out on a huge opportunity – and possibly one of the biggest ways to succeed from a tradeshow.
I recently spoke with a gentleman who had given up on tradeshows. Dan was an insurance provider who had booked a table at a few events, but decided it wasn’t the right tool for him. I asked him why he felt that way, he explained that he was never able to sign anyone up at these shows. I asked him if he had a way to collect leads that he could follow up with after the show.
I encouraged Dan to try a tradeshow one last time before completely giving up, and to try hosting a giveaway at his table that would allow him to collect information from people walking by. Something small and simple, like a coffee mug or a gift card would work fine. The catch was – he needed to follow up with each and everyone one of the people who filled out a ballot for the giveaway. He agreed it was worth a try.
The next time I saw Dan, I didn’t even have the opportunity to approach him because before I knew it he was running up to me with a big smile on his face. He said, “I did exactly what you said. While nobody was ready to commit to an insurance plan at the event, I was able to gain several new clients from following up with the people who filled out the ballots.” Dan now includes trade show marketing as one of his main tools to gain new clients.
Many vendors think that they should be able to sell their products and services at a trade show, and then are disappointed with their results. The truth is, tradeshows are a great way to spread the word about your business but most sales are made after the show is over. That’s why collecting leads at the show and following up is extremely important to your success.
It’s time to stop making excuses and to start following up after tradeshows. Most people you contact will be a dead-end, but some will say yes and those people will be worth all of the time you spent. If you don’t have time to call, at least mail them something or reply with an email. You will want to follow up as soon as possible so that your products and services are fresh in their mind. If you don’t have the resources to follow up with everyone yourself, there are lead agencies that you can hire to follow up for you. However it is always best to use a personal approach.
If you are attending tradeshows but not spending the time on following-up you are missing out on a huge market and huge potential. It’s time to start capturing contact information from the people walking by your booth and start turning these leads into concrete sales.