If you have just attended or are about to attend a trade show or exhibition it is vital that you ensure your trade show follow up maximizes the investment made to attend the show. Companies spend many hours planning the show but do not realize that the real value comes after the event in the trade show follow up, that is where your sales will come from.

Trade shows can be exhausting events and it is all too easy to delay your response to those that have visited your stand. But think about it – you have invested a considerable sum in attending the event, and they in turn have invested their time in visiting your stand. It is common courtesy at least to acknowledge that and thank them for their interest as soon as possible.

Consider this – how impressed would they be if on their return to their office, waiting in their in box was a personalized and very targeted email from you, commenting on what you had discussed and their specific problems or requirements that your product/service could solve? You would be way ahead of the competition.

A timely follow up will make your company stand out from the crowd and tell your prospects that you are important to them. The Center for Exhibition Industry research has found that over a staggering 80% of trade show leads never receive a post show sales follow up. Why did these people bother to exhibit and waste money on a stand if they are going to allow those prospects who are in buying mode just walk away?

This is why it is essential to plan ahead for how you will manage your trade show follow up. Here are some tips:

1) During the show as you collect contact details, make some notes about specifics for that person. Create a lead form or at least jot some notes on the back of their business card. This will remind you of what you discussed when you come to follow up. After the event it is so difficult to remember what was said to each individual. If they ask for some specific information, make sure you do what you promised. And quickly!

2) Timing of your trade show follow up is imperative. Do it as soon as possible, during the show if you can on a daily basis, get in before the competition and while you are fresh in your visitors’ minds.

3) Make sure that you stand out – this is why a personalized email is so important. Think about how much more impressed you would be if I commented on what we had discussed on the stand rather than just sending a generic email newsletter.

4) Make it easy for them to come back to you. People feel less pressured if they can respond to a friendly and personalized email than if you ring them when they may be too busy to talk.

5) If your visitor wants to delay their decision and come back at a later date, ensure this is noted and again, followed up in a timely fashion.

6) Finally analyze the outcome of the leads to understand the true value of the show.

Follow these simple steps to make the most of your trade show leads.