The Follow Up - The Importance of After Trade Show Networking

 


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There is so much involved in making your participation at a trade show successful. Most people think that showing up and promoting a business is all that is needed. This is not entirely true. Probably the most important aspect of attending trade shows is following up with potential clients afterward.

Structure your tasks when you market your work at the next trade show. Divide them into groups of pre-show, at-show, and post-show. Of course the pre-show planning process is essential. You must have your graphic materials, brochures, and promotional products ordered, printed, and ready beforehand. At the trade show event itself, it is necessary to work on public relations, make contacts, give away promotional items, and circulate your marketing materials. However, even after the show has ended, your standard protocol should involve checking in with the connections you have established. You don’t want all of your hard work, time, and energy to be wasted by not following through. You come to a trade show to market your business, so be sure you are really trying to make your sales.

One of the most crucial elements is time. Don’t put off reconnecting with individuals interested in your business. Make those calls to check back with potential clients soon after meeting them. You want your positive image to be easily recalled and you want to continue the helpful, eager impression you have created. Follow up right away and show your clients how dedicated you are. And, if you agree to send clients additional materials or supplies, do so promptly upon returning home. If a customer needs more information on a product or if there might be information that you need to investigate, then make this an after trade show priority. Demonstrate your speediness and ability to keep your word. This will build credibility and support your image as well.

You can actually begin your after show work during your initial planning process. You can create special thank you notes for those you networked with. On the other hand, consider sending out a flyer of upcoming specials or discounts. Create your materials in advance. Have them printed, stuffed in envelopes, and stamped. That way all you need to do to wrap the event up is to personalize the mail with addresses, a signature, and maybe a handwritten note.

Consider also shipping a small, relatively inexpensive promotional product to your potential clients. Work with a promotional consultant to select an item that best ties into your trade show theme.

Your method of mail can influence the way your contacts receive it. Choose a carrier like Federal Express or UPS. Show these contacts that you mean business. Packaging can also catch clients by surprise, and doing something out of the ordinary will encourage them to open your mail.

If any of your business is local business, skip the mailing altogether, and opt for making a personal appearance. Bring the after show literature and promotional gift in person.

Once you obtain your potential client’s contact information at the trade show, utilize the various methods of modern communication and try a variety of them. Consider e-blasts, faxes, postcards, personal phone calls, coupons, and newsletters. Keep track of the times you send out marketing materials and the method employed. Don’t overwhelm your contacts by bombarding them too frequently. Note also though which techniques get the best responses.

So what if you don’t make that big sale? Perhaps you didn’t strike a deal with contact you thought had committed. Keep such people on your list anyway.

One success story involves a lake water management company. The representatives administered their brochures and aquatic pictures during their stay at the show. They spent hours explaining to people what it was that they exactly did. They got the names and contact information of those who expressed an interest in their field or requested catalogs. After the show had ended, they didn’t stop there. They created a special mailing list of those they met, and sent additional materials along with a promotional product. Even though the item they sent out had nothing directly related to their line of work, they sent out pill dispensers imprinted with their company logo. Attached was a note that read, “We’ve got the remedy. "

To reiterate, following up with your potential clients is most critical part of the trade show process. Besides distributing your brochures, handing out your promotional products, and networking, remember the closing procedures of a trade show. You’re there to establish contacts, so strengthen them and stay connected by following up soon after the closure of the next trade show event.

Author: Rick Sheldon has 18 years experience in the Promotional Products Industry and is currently CEO of Save on Promotional Products Inc. a Discount Online Promotional Products Company He can be contacted at 1-800-826-8706; email: rick@justpay10.com or go to our site: Promotional Items

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