Top-Shelf Tip No. 14:

"Either you follow up or you fold up."

Bernard Kelvin Clive

Connections And Lead Follow-Up After A Trade Show

The start of a new year is prime trade show season across many industries. If your company is exhibiting at client industry trade shows this spring, you are sure to connect with many new prospects. However you plan to organize these new contacts, it’s critical that you don’t let them fall to the wayside. Make sure you develop a plan to follow up with these prospects and potentially turn them into clients. While many people overlook the importance or simply don’t budget the time for follow-up after a trade show, how you handle your post-trade show planning is just as important as how you prepare for the event.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, Ben Hindman, events specialist and co-founder of Splash, shares how to jump on the follow-up after a trade show by crafting personal, relevant, consistent and exciting e-mails. He says it’s important to start with a clean list and then kick things off quickly when the trade show or event wraps up. Every day that goes by without a follow-up, you can expect engagement to drop off by around 20 percent. To avoid this, begin your follow-up as soon as possible after the show closes. Here’s how to create Hindman’s six suggested e-mails:

E-mail No. 1: When you reach out to a new connection for the first time, begin with something that will spark a recollection of your meeting, such as “We loved seeing you at our booth!” Aim to provide something valuable, such as a fun fact, an interesting quote or a video from the event. Remember that the first email is about giving. Do not ask for anything at this point.

E-mail No. 2: When you hit send on the first e-mail, schedule your second e-mail to go the next day. This time ask for something, whether you’d like your prospects to complete a survey or offer feedback on their booth experience. So your request doesn’t appear burdensome, craft your request so it appeals to a greater good and tie it to a bigger purpose. Sometimes all it takes is simply explaining why you are asking for feedback in the first place.

E-mail No. 3: Hindman says it’s important to make the third interaction hyper-personalized. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an e-mail, but it should come directly from a person. After waiting three days after sending your second e-mail, your strongest prospects from the trade show should receive a personalized message from someone with your company whom they met onsite. It could be an e-mail, a handwritten note or letter, a phone call or even a small but thoughtful gift. This is often hard to scale, so be sure you know and identity who you were the most engaged with at your booth.

E-mails Nos. 4-6: In these next three e-mails, strive to build a rapport with prospects. Wait about a week from the third interaction and then send a weekly correspondence with interesting content such as blogs, videos, announcements, press releases or special invitations. Hindman also recommends including additional personal follow-ups from you or another sales rep at this stage. Once you’ve hit Send on all six e-mails, you’ll have a better idea of who is still engaged and where you should focus your energy and time. With this information, you can aim to set up a meeting and kick off a successful new partnership.

Try Hindman’s e-mail approach to follow up with your leads and get more projects in the works.

Source: Ben Hindman is co-founder and CEO of Splash, the fastest-growing end-to-end event marketing technology used by more than half of the Fortune 500. Prior to starting Splash, Hindman was the director of events at Thrillist, Hindman is also a co-founder of the Summit Series, the renowned invite-only destination tech event.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

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