It’s the end of a trade show. Your presence was well received. You met great people. You managed to generate a number of useful leads. All in all, it was a fantastic trade show.
You carry the buzz, the excitement, the energy with you as you board the plane or unwind with friends and colleagues. After all, this kind or success calls for a celebration.
You return home happy. The prospects look good. You carry the happiness into a great weekend with family and friends, looking forward to the days, weeks and months ahead where you will convert all those leads into new business.
But the fairy tale story or a trade show doesn’t always end the way we expect it to.
Come Monday morning, you often have only a vague idea of who each of those leads were and why you were looking forward to connecting with them again. The show itself is often a blur. A fuzzy maze in which it’s impossible to isolate individuals – connect them with a face or a business – recollect the context of their importance and know exactly how you intended to take the lead forward.
To compound the problem, your get immersed in the immediate work issues. The more time that passes by, the chances of translating a lead generation success into business value continue to become slimmer and slimmer.
Not to forget, your prospects too visited other businesses at the trade show, and this alone increases your risk of being forgotten. This is how many trade shows end for businesses.
According to Exhibitoronline.com, a staggering 80% of the companies that attend trade shows never follow up on their leads! There is an automatic assumption that all the people you met at the trade show will call you because you gave them a brochure and they are certain to remember you.
Trade shows and exhibitions tend to be one of the most expensive forms of marketing. A trade show costs more than just the cost of the booth. Often, there are travel and stay costs. Not to mention the cost of dislocation from regular work. You stand there talking, presenting, networking, and creating an interest. But when they return to office and don’t really take the time to follow-up, all your hard work on the tradeshow just goes out the window, resulting in a significant loss with little or no return to show. So that brings us to the question…
The key to success lies in the follow up: It is important to follow up on any lead quickly. Keep the buzz and excitement going – otherwise you’ll lose momentum. Call the most serious prospects first. You should follow-up with all your leads within 48 hours and no later than a week of the show by phone. Continue to execute good prospecting and sales techniques to develop a professional relationship. This is the best time to imprint your company into the prospect’s mind.
Remember to thank your lead for stopping by your booth. Take this opportunity to identify what you need to do to guide the prospect through the sales pipeline. This is one of the best times to gather further information, so focus on that.
What do you do about the leads that aren’t ready to buy yet? You build rapport and start building a relationship. As these leads share information, it makes the sales jobs easier down the line. There’s a lot of relentless and meticulous work involved to first convert a trade show lead into a qualified lead; and then into a serious sales prospect. This isn’t an easy thing to do alone on an already busy schedule, so outsourcing this process may be a good option for small and large businesses alike. Let HMS “Partner for Success” with your business by developing and fulfilling your lead generation needs.