It is critical to define your follow-up procedure before you even leave the office for the show. In fact, I would suggest that you craft your follow-up plan before you even sign the exhibit contract. Without a solid plan to follow-up consistently over time the whole show attendance can be a waste of money.
Different types of shows and different industries require different types of follow-up. Go back to the original discussion (part one), and take a second look at why you decided to exhibit at this particular show. Your reasons for exhibiting should be your clue as to what your plan needs to be.
If you are exhibiting to write orders, then your follow-up is relatively simple. Get those orders shipped with a note of thanks for the business within a week to ten days of the show close. Then look at the sales cycle for your product line and determine an approximate date that your customer should be reordering. Give them a call. Don’t wait for them to call you, this is all part of your post show follow-up.
If you are at the show to gather new prospects then before you even leave to the show:
- Create a schedule for follow up calls.
- Prepare the e-mail that you want to have sent out a day or two after the attendees have all returned to their offices.
- Also, have a prepared packet ready to go out after being customized for each prospects needs. Include in that packet a basic fact sheet on how you can help the prospect solve their business issue or problem, an easily mail-able promotional product, and your business card with contact information.
- Have ready a note card to be attached to the entire packet thanking them for their time and telling them that you look forward to working with them.
After you have placed your follow up calls HAND WRITE a note of thanks to each person that you reached, and reference the conversation. Try to print clearly and make sure it is personal. In this day of email and anonymity, your hand written personalized note will stand out.
Do not send the email out the day the attendees return to their offices as it will be lost in the overflowing inbox. Wait the extra day or two so that it captures their attention. Be sure that the subject references having met them in your booth at the XYZ show.
If you are there because it is an industry must – FOLLOW UP! You saw clients, drop them a note, snail mail and maybe even include a Post-it pad – “it was nice to see you”. For the prospects that you saw, call them. Have a basic follow up package ready to be customized and sent out.
Whatever your goal, and purpose in exhibiting, be sure that the follow up system is in place and waiting to be put into action on your return. If you think that you will never get it all done on your own, there are resources such as Virtual Assistants, use them, because at the end of the day without consistent and thorough follow up the money spent on exhibiting will have been wasted.