Working a tradeshow is hard. You spend eight hours a day on your feet talking to person after person, repeating the same key features and benefits, scanning badges and shaking hands. Then, instead of going back to your hotel room to get some rest, you have a meeting with your team, take a key client to dinner and try to catch up with what’s going on at home. And you do this for several days in a row!
With all the effort and personal sacrifice that goes into the tradeshow experience, it is imperative that you follow through when you get back to the office. Here are five tips to ensure your time and money were well spent:
1. FOLLOW UP!!! This should go without saying, but we’re going to mention it anyway. This is the single most important thing you can do. These are the folks you really want to do business with and now is the time to begin the real courtship.
2. Stand out! Your competitors are going to send a brochure and a business card to the same people as you. In his book, The Great Game of Networking, Dr. Burt Smith talks about the value of a handwritten note. In this digital age, nothing is more personal than a handwritten note. It shows that you care. When is the last time you received a note from a vendor?
3. Be memorable. Now is an ideal time to give your prospective client a branded product that will keep your name in front of her. She doesn’t have to lug it around the tradeshow floor, find a place to pack it to get it home and it’s a pleasant surprise in the mail.
4. Do your homework. You have thanked your top prospects and will be following-up with them in two weeks. Now is the time to learn as much as possible about the company and your contact person. Visit the company website. Find out who they are and what they do. Then determine how you can help them! Check out your new contacts in LinkedIn or Google them to see what comes up.
5. Follow up… Again. Call your most qualified prospects. Demonstrate your interest in them by sharing what you learned. Ask questions. And, most importantly, keep your mouth closed and your ears open so you can hear their answers.
Working a tradeshow is hard. There is no way around that. After going to the expense and trouble to attend the show, though, there is no better way to capitalize on your investment than to follow through and close the deal.
February 1, 2011