Following up effectively is arguably the most important part of trade shows, it allows you to turn all the hard earned leads you generated into customers. Research in the exhibition industry suggests that upwards of 75% of leads are never followed up on, exhibiting can be a considerable investment for all businesses so letting those valuable leads go cold can harm your return on investment significantly.
At XL Displays we’ve prepared a guide to help you make the most of your trade shows and follow up on leads more effectively.
Prepare to Follow up Before the Event
Don’t leave it until the last minute, you need to be ready to immediately contact potential leads straight after the event has finished or even during the event. Showing people that you’re eager to stay in contact will make them feel valued and increase the likelihood of them converting into a customer.
Many exhibitions these days use various different methods to take attendees details, including badges that can be scanned to retrieve their details and QR codes that can be scanned via mobile devices and tablets. To be safe however always take a manual system such as a notepad or clipboard should the electronic systems fail. Manual systems also allow you to take your own details such as conversation topics that can be referred back to when following up or the budget they have available.
Before your exhibition you should also find out from the event organisers what information they require for attendees to sign up and if they use a scanning system. If you can gather detailed information by scanning the attendee’s barcode on their badge then the experience will be smoother and more pleasant for the visitor.
Preparing a standard letter or email before the event that suits the majority of enquiries and can be personalised with a name is a great way to thank prospects for their time and let them know that they will be contacted shortly. These should be sent out as the event is still happening so that prospects feel valued and can expect to hear from you.
More often than not the staff working the stand won’t be the ones following up on leads, this is why it can be a good idea to develop a system for classifying leads such as:
- Hot (Very important)
- Warm (Moderately important)
- Cold (Least important)
This helps the team that are following up to know who to contact first, a hot lead for example may want to organise a meeting for the next day to discuss an order whereas a cold lead may want a few months to decide. Using this method the follow up process will become streamlined and the amount of leads you are converting into sales will increase.
People will generally only purchase from business they know and trust, so keep in contact with the leads you generate from the exhibition and let them get to know you are the company you work for, don’t just assume that they will call you, this is called warming the leads. Don’t be afraid to stay in touch with potential customers and don’t give up if you don’t receive a reply the first time, it’s likely that the client is someone extremely busy so be persistent. If you are offering something that may be interest to your client you will rarely be seen as a nuisance. This doesn’t mean email them 20 times per day however.
Firstly your follow up email you should include the clients name and the event that you met with them, for example “Hi ____, It was great meeting you at ___________”. During the event if you took notes you should remember what you talked about with them, whether it was personal or a business conversation including this in the email will make it feel much more personalised. After this you should then move into what you have to offer them such as a new product or service that you know the client is interested in from your conversations at the event. Offering something you know they are interested in will increase chances that they will eventually convert into a customer.
When following up don’t just rely on emailing your client, it can often be even more effective to call them first. Doing this you can determine if they are actually interested in what you have to offer and you can let them know that an email is on its way to them, reducing the chance of them missing it or it getting lost in their inbox.
When sending your follow up email you should also take into consideration what day it is and the time of day as this can affect the chances of your client seeing it, for example if you send the follow up email on Sunday morning the chances are it won’t be seen and will be buried under the countless other emails they will receive. Generally B2B emails are best sent on a Tuesday or Wednesday and emails are most opened between 9am and 12pm however you should test this to find out what works best for you.
We hope this guide helps you to improve your following up after exhibitions. At XL Displays we create, design and build pop up displays and exhibition stands that get you results.
Please contact us or call our sales team on 01733 511030 for more information.