Trade Show Lead Follow-Up Matters

Trade Show Lead Follow-Up Matters


by Steve Hoffman

Anyone who has ever attended a trade show, either out of personal interest, or to do business, knows how tiring they can be. There is typically a lot of people to talk to and a lot of ground to cover. Then, when the event is over, there is usually a lot of work to get to once you return to the office. It’s tempting to forge ahead with the work week, thinking you’ll get to those trade show leads “later”, but proceed with caution. Not acting on them might mean you lose them completely.

So, you’ve made it through the trade show and have returned to your office, anxiously looking forward to diving into the qualified leads your booth staffers generated at the show. But wait, what’s that other pile on your desk? You know, the one that is on fire and now behind schedule? Because you were at a trade show, things have piled up and the requests from your boss, your staff and your clients typically take priority once you return. Exercise caution, though, or else the golden leads you just gathered may get set aside and unfortunately, too often, eventually get buried.

When you return from a trade show, one of three things happens: 1) leads get shoved aside until out of sight, out of mind becomes your excuse; 2) eventually, to lessen your guilt for not following up, you do a generic email blast, effectively negating the benefit of the personal interaction that happened at the show; or 3) you buckle down and do things right. For the sake of your business, reputation, clients and ROI, choose to do things right. Here are a few tips:

  • Have a post-show lead management plan in place before the show.
  • Schedule your first day back in the office as if you were still at the show, giving yourself time for proper follow-up and internally disseminating leads.
  • Be sure your lead card or lead retrieval system has a methodology to flag timely or hot prospects so you can follow up with those first.
  • Understand the correlation between lead management and measuring the ROI on your company’s objectives.
  • Your lead management plan should include assigning responsibility for at-show handling of the leads, database entry and dissemination/delegation/distribution of leads.
  • Your plan should also include monitoring what happened to the show-generated leads once they have been turned over to those responsible for further qualifying and sales follow-up.

If you want to vastly increase the value of your trade show program, follow-up matters!

To make sure your sales team has all the information they need for effective follow-up, check out Better Booth Staffing for Greater Trade Show Results. The ideas and advice in this free book will equip your staffers with the right knowledge and skills to staff successfully. Find it at

About the Author: Steve Hoffman, president of Skyline Exhibits & Design, has spent almost 30 years in selling and the marketing of marketing products industry. Following a successful career in the TV Program Syndication business, Steve joined The Holt Group/Skyline Displays as a marketing consultant, then moved into management, ultimately purchasing a portion of the company. He is the author of The Reality of B.S. (Big Sales…That Is). Steve is dedicated to helping his South Carolina trade show displays clients achieve their worldwide exhibit marketing goals while improving their efficiencies, too.

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