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How to Turn Tradeshow Leads into Sales with Effective Follow-up

By Jules Sowder |

Giving tradeshow booth visitors your company literature, collecting contact information from prospects, and engaging in meaningful conversation about your product benefits represent only a portion of the exhibit sales process. Tradeshow success requires thoughtful, calculated follow-up on all viable leads you and your staff generated from the exhibition floor.

Once the show has ended, immediate and continual contact by mail, email, phone and personal visits is essential to maximizing your revenue potential. Determining how you will collect lead information and the materials you will use in your follow-up activities needs to occur during your exhibit planning process.

Include different information and literature for your marketing before, during and after the event. For example, rather than sending the same company promotional brochure that you mailed ahead of time to registrants or had available in your exhibit booth, plan ahead to send a new piece with additional information and selling points that appeal to the needs of your prospects.

In your follow-up communication, be sure to address specific interests or needs the customer shared while visiting your booth. Any way you can personalize your written or verbal communication will yield greater marketing impact and put you closer to securing a new client.

If you are making a follow-up phone call, which always makes an impact, refer to the conversation you had with the prospect when he or she was visiting your booth. Or, send specific information the potential customer requested and include a personalized handwritten note.

Mailing articles, fact sheets, and other detailed product information that directly address customer needs will send a message of service and commitment that will help you solidify the sale.

The style and form of follow-up in which you engage should be determined by the sales potential of the lead. Before the event, you should develop a "scoring" system for leads generated from your tradeshow exhibit booth and segment prospects for different types of follow-up based on potential to buy.

So a prospect you met at your tradeshow exhibit booth who has decision-making authority and a large budget would get a higher score and more intense follow-up attention than someone picking up your literature who represents a business that is auxiliary to your product offering.

When making follow-up contact, include a special offer specific offer to encourage your prospects to take action. This may include special pricing or value-added offers that are meaningful to helping prospective customers be more successful.

In all follow-up activities, timing is critical. Don't let a hot prospect become a cold lead because too much time has passed before you've made contact. Leads from tradeshows should first be contacted within a week of the show.

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