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.