5 Trade Show Follow-up Tips to Gain a Competitive Advantage

Congratulations!  You just participated in a trade show and made a lot of great new connections.  You’re on top of the world.  But guess what, unless you take action on those connections, those business cards are nothing more than a piece of paper.  That’s right…just another pile of papers with little to no value.  So how do you convert those slips of paper into a valuable business relationship, a relationship that will lead to a client, a strategic partnership or a great vendor relationship?

This is where the good news comes in.  You control the outcome.  The number one challenge that business owners fail to do is follow-up.  We have the tendency to start with the greatest intentions.  We work with our marketing advisors to put on a great show, cross every ‘T’ and dot every ‘I’.  We invest in a great display, purchase meaningful promotional items, dress our best for the day, and then drop the ball when it comes to follow-up.  We simply fail to have a plan.

Let’s face it, if an ideal prospect talked with you, they likely talked with your competitor too.  So how do you stand out from your competitors?   Simple:  you have a post-show follow-up plan, a tool to help you execute the plan, and then YOU follow through and execute the plan.

Implement these 5 tips to help you gain a competitive advantage after a trade show.

  1. Put together a follow-up plan BEFORE the trade show.
  2. Let your prospects know how you will reach out to them (phone call, mailer, office visit, email).
  3. Ask if they’re interested in learning more.  If yes, you can add them to your newsletter mailing.
  4. Send a thank you for visiting your booth.
  5. Respond within 10 days.

Follow the above steps and your chances of outsmarting your competitors soar.  You can use a tool such as Constant Contact to stay in touch both before and after the show.  Did you fail to respond within 10 days?  Don’t worry, you can still use those business cards for kindling.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group ~ The Edmiston Group provides senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long term basis.  Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business growth.

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