Well, it’s over—you’ve survived three or four days of grueling personal contact with all the prospects that you hope will soon become your customers. Now you can go back to the office or store and just answer the phone with your order pad in hand.
Not quite! If you’re ready for the facts, your work has just begun. If you ignore the next steps, you just wasted your time and money being in the show. Follow-up should start right away, or many of the people you talked to will forget you quickly. Get back to your business, handle any immediate situations that came up while you were gone, and then work on your show leads and orders.
Here are a few things you should do when the tradeshow is over:
- Open accounts for any new customers you picked up at the show and quickly process any orders. You want to do this first because it’s money that has already been made, and you want to show off your good service.
- Start calling all the people who wanted to set up an appointment and get a date and time before they change their minds and forget you.
- Send literature and product information to all those who requested it, along with a personalized cover letter asking
whether you can set up an appointment or conference call.
- Send a letter to let the prospect know that you enjoyed meeting him or her at the show. Enclose some literature to entice future action. Personalize the letter with the prospect’s name and business address.
- A couple of weeks later, call those prospects you haven’t heard from and attempt to sell to them or visit them. Mention that you met them at the tradeshow.
- Sort through the leads and business cards and decide which you want to add to your permanent mailing list.
- Offer to sell or trade your sales leads with other businesses who want to reach the same target market but aren’t competitors.
- Have an after-show debriefing with your staff for new ideas for the future and to discuss what did and didn’t work at this show.
- Start planning your next show and what you want to change to make it better and more profitable. Keep a file of ideas and plans that you want to try in the future.