Trade Show Come and Gone, What Now?

The trade show may be over, but no need to snooze until next year! Get the most out of a trade show even after you’ve gone home.

It’s been a little over a week since our team returned from exhibiting at ISSA/INTERCLEAN 2017 and BSCAI’s Contracting Success Conference in Las Vegas. We had a great time connecting with different members of our industry and with some of our clients.

Now that we’re back, we’ve come up with a list of things you can do after attending a trade show to make sure you get the most out of it.

  1. Stack of papers and books

    Divide and group your materials

    Go through all the materials (business cards, flyers, brochures, etc.) you collected at the trade show and group them by the product and services that you’re most interested in learning more about.

  2. Evaluate

    Go over all of your expenses during the trade show. Look at the costs of attending/exhibiting, hotels, travel, other expenses and your time. Was the amount of new knowledge and the connections you made worth the investment in attending?

    Make a list of what went well, what didn’t, and what could be improved next time. Make sure to pay special attention to any responses or feedback you may have gotten from prospective and current customers. If you can figure out the “lessons learned,” then you’ll be able to improve your efforts at future trade shows.

  3. Add new leads right away

    For exhibitors, make sure to add the business cards you collected to the CRM software you use for further communication and tracking. Add any notes you may have taken about the contacts’ interests or any other information that would be helpful for a follow-up. If you’re able to, add a label or tag, like “trade show,” to each contact so that if or when they make a purchase, you can put a monetary value on the success of attending the trade show.

  4. Follow up within a week

    Man making a phone call

    Send your leads a personalized email within 3 days, or one week at the latest, after the trade show. For those who exhibited at the trade show, follow up with any requests leads may have made at the show or send open-ended questions regarding anything they may have expressed interest in while at your booth.

    Make sure to also include a call to action, like visiting your website or blog. For those who just attended the trade show and did not exhibit, you can also reach out and begin communicating with the connections you made; networking doesn’t have to end with the trade show.

  5. Pick up the phone

    If there were any people you made a special connection with or got to know better at the trade show, go ahead and reach out to them by phone maybe within 1 to 2 weeks.

  6. Send a postcard

    So not exactly a postcard, but just old-fashioned mail! After emailing and calling, exhibitors can also send out physical marketing materials (letters, brochures, thank you cards, promotional items, etc.) along with a handwritten note and your business card within 1 to 2 weeks of the trade show.

  7. Connect online

    Connect with your new contacts on LinkedIn and endorse them, pay it forward! LinkedIn is a great place to continue networking even after the trade show ends. Join groups that new contacts are in and don’t hesitate to join in on their conversations. If you haven’t already, follow the trade show’s LinkedIn group page as well.

  8. Keep in touch

    Incoming messages on a phone

    Unless otherwise requested by the contact, schedule to touch base with them quarterly. For exhibitors, plan on future written follow-ups and special offers and plan to keep them informed when you launch new products or services.

One important thing you should remember to do after attending a trade show or convention is: Don’t lose the momentum! These small and simple tips can help you make sure you don’t. Impressions from the show can linger for a few days to a week, but after that they’ll begin to taper off quickly, so make sure to take advantage while it’s still fresh.

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