Hey, I Just Met You… Now What Do I Do? Ways to Effectively Follow Up with Your Trade Show Leads

By Lisa Shackelford

The trade show has ended. You have returned to business-as-usual, bringing with you exhaustion, excitement and most importantly, your leads.  So now that you have new leads in hand, where do you begin following up with them?

Chances are, throughout the course of the trade show, many potential clients seemed excited about your products, were in the market to buy your type of products, and got to know you and your company better. Does that translate into attendees making a mad dash to their phones the minute they get back to the office? No. You will need to follow-up.  Hear are some processes that will help you organize your lead follow-up plan.

  • Have a designated point person.  Decide before the show who will be the person in charge of the leads.  Preferably, assign this to someone who will not attend the show, since employees that are attending will be playing catch-up when they first return from the show, and the leads may get pushed to the side for later. If the point person is not attending the show, he or she can begin implementing the follow-up process before the show is over.
  • Contact your most qualified leads within 24-48 hours of the show. Follow up with all leads within a week.
  • Before the show, train booth staffers on how to properly qualify potential leads. Teach them what your criteria is for a qualified lead and what questions to ask booth visitors. This will not only allow you to focus your follow-up efforts more efficiently, but this will also give the person following up useful information about the needs of the potential customer.
  • Create a lead generation form that contains pertinent qualifying information. Lead forms do not have to be paper-based; you can create one on a tablet or laptop.  Computerized lead capturing also ensures that leads are legible and information is less likely to be incorrect or misread.
  • Call your leads in order of priority.  Have a system of coding that prioritizes leads by follow-up priority.  You can use a color system, a numerical system, alphabetical, etc. A coding system keeps the leads organized and ensures that leads that are hot are being addressed first.
  • Have a follow-up plan in place before the show begins.  The plan should include how you will divide up the leads, what methods you will use to reach them and what will be the tone of your message. Different types of leads will call for different tones, so make sure to tailor your plan to include different strategies for different types of leads.

Following up with your trade show leads in a timely, organized fashion ensures that you are talking with your hottest prospects when your meeting is fresh in their minds. The goal of your trade show appearance is to generate new customers, and the key to moving trade show leads along in the sales process after the show is following up with potential customers quickly and methodically.

 Lisa Shackelford is the Marketing Coordinator at FB Displays & Designs, Inc. 

Trade Show Trends of 2012

By Lisa Shackelford

The fall trade show season is upon us, which means exhibitors are inspecting their old displays, purchasing new displays and graphics, repairing broken parts and revising their past trade show strategies. In doing so, exhibitors will undoubtedly evaluate the upcoming trends in the trade show environment.

Here are some of the recent trends to consider when updating your trade show strategy, based on the results of Exhibit Surveys, Inc. annual Trade Show Trends report and the 2012 Social Media Marketing Survey.

  • 35% of attendees in 2011 reported that their intent to buy was more favorable after visiting a company’s exhibit.  This means that for companies that exhibit, the value of attending trade shows lies not only in meeting prospective clients, but also in building brand loyalty and brand awareness.
  • There has been a 90% increase in the amount of marketers using social media as a part of their exhibiting strategy in the past two years. Marketers utilizing social media for exhibit marketing cited benefits such as increased booth traffic, increased brand awareness, improved relationships with clients, increased event attendance, additional press coverage and increased sales as a direct result of their social media campaigns.
  • 81% of trade show attendees in 2011 had the power to make a purchasing decision or influence the purchasing decision. Despite recent economic challenges, trade shows continue to attract attendees that either are decision makers, or have are influential in the buying process.
  • Technology is becoming more integrated into trade show exhibits. IPads and tablets are not just used to show videos and photos of a company’s product. Tablets and CRM software are increasingly being partnered to streamline the lead management process.
  • 36% of attendees on average are first time attendees. Trade shows are attracting a wide variety of decision-makers; from the first-time attendee to the seasoned trade show professional.
  • Many exhibitors have been focusing on creating metrics to justify the initial investment necessary required for exhibiting. The most common metric being discussed is ROI (return on investment), but exhibitors are looking for supplementary metrics as well, such as ROO (return on objectives).

The trade show environment is rapidly evolving to make the experience on the trade show floor more interactive for attendees, by means of social media and technology. Trade shows continue to attract attendees that are decision-makers in the purchasing process, which means that trade shows continue to be a highly effective method for marketers to reach their target market.

Lisa Shackelford is the Marketing Coordinator at FB Displays & Designs. 


Sequeira, Ian. “EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Trade Show Trends, April 2012.” EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Trade Show Trends, April 2012. EXHIBITOR Magazine, Apr. 2012. Web. 06 Sept. 2012. <http://www.exhibitoronline.com/exhibitormagazine/apr12/trade-show-trends-exhibit-surveys.asp&gt;.

Stanton, Travis. “EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Social Studies, June 2012.” EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Social Studies, June 2012. EXHIBITOR Magazine, June 2012. Web. 06 Sept. 2012. <http://www.exhibitoronline.com/exhibitormagazine/jun12/research-social-studies.asp&gt;.