This week has been a whirlwind for us at the largest trade show we currently go to, LeadsCon in Las Vegas. This year was our biggest and best set up to date, as we partnered up with our friends at Ytel, Drips, and Call Criteria and dubbed ourselves The Contact Partners.
We had a large pavilion booth with a lounge area and exclusive bar right in the middle of the expo hall under a large,spinning sign. This encouraged attendees to sit down, have a drink, and spend some time with our sales teams. Deals were made by each company and if someone came up that didn't fit one company's services but another's, there was a quick introduction to get the conversation started with the right people. It was the perfect set up, and we already have plans to partner up again next year and take it to the next level.
Since this show was such a rousing success for all of us, with many great things coming out of it, we thought it would be good to talk about why trade shows are important.
Although the initial expense of a trade show might seem high, it's good to see trade shows as a long-term investment. It increases your companies' visiblity and presence, establishes your brand, is great for networking, and most importantly - they are great sources for lead generation.
Most exhibitors at trade shows ( about 98%) collect sales leads at trade shows, but more than half don't have a plan to make sure that those leads are followed up. What's the point of spending money to attend a trade show if you don't intend to follow up on your leads and generate new business for your company?
Here are three tips to make sure that your leads are followed up with most effectively:
Make sure to follow up on leads 1-2 days after the show, prioritzing hot leads. This initial contact can be as simple as a "thank you for your interest" email with some more information about your company. Be sure not to push too hard in your first follow-up.
Personalizing follow-ups don't have to be overly specific. Just mentioning when and at what trade show that you met them at, or attaching a photo of the venue to the email, is enough. It helps potential customers remember you.
Its good to be consistent in keeping up with leads, but it's also good not to contact them too often. Create a timeline follow-up calendar for each client, so you remember the last time you contacted them, and when the next scheduled contact is. An example follow up timeline might be something like:
1-2 days after trade show: send a thank you email
1-2 weeks after the show: follow up with a phone call
2-3 months after: extend an invitation to visit your facility or demo your software one on one with them.
Following up on these leads isn't only good practice, but because most of the attendees at trade shows are decision makers, you are more likely to reach a sale faster. A sale that begins with a contact at a trade show costs half the amount it would to close vs. one that didn't.