The image above is courtesy of ExCeL London
After-show sales management is not often talked about, but here’s the gist. Great news, the trade show is over, the last crate is packed and you had a successful show. Time to pat yourself on the back and move on to the next show? Not so fast.
By all means, do take a minute to congratulate yourself, but don’t take too long because, you want to strike while your show leads are still hot.
Yes, it’s following-up time!
All of the business cards, email addresses, scraps of random paper with notes and contact information that you collected during the show… those things are gold! Closing up the show and post event follow-up is just as important as the pre and at event work that you put in, so don’t neglect this piece.
Like the Scouts: Be prepared
This first tip is to have your follow up emails pre-written for the lookey-loos that came by. You know, these are the people who just stopped by for a pen.
Once you get all your leads together, clean them up removing duplicates, competitors, etc. Then add them as the recipient list to the email that you already have written and ready to go.
Having this ready in advance of the show ensures that you won’t forget or won’t put off writing something because you’re too tired, too busy or any other excuse you’re coming up with.
It’s really important to add these people to your mailing list as you never know when looking will turn into buying.
I also really encourage the sales team to take that same list that I emailed and call each person individually to thank them for coming by and seeing if they can secure any more business. In most cases, sales aren’t made in a one-touch process. The more touches that you can add, the more information you can give potential clients, the closer you may be getting to a sale.
Are you kidding?
That would be no. I know you’re thinking right now that:
“I don’t have every lead’s email address or phone number, all I got was John Smith from ABC corporation in XYZ city.”
OK. So hire a temp or an intern. Seriously, even if one of those “missing info” leads turns into a sale, you’ll have paid for that person’s time many times over. And that doesn’t take into account all of the other leads that they complete. Some of these may take a little while longer to convert. Just because all the contact details you want are missing from some leads to begin doesn’t make them any less valuable.
Don’t just email people once
Add all of your leads to your email drip campaigns. They might not be buying today, but who’s to say they won’t buy in 6 months from now?
Drip campaigns are a great way to be a little reminder:
“You saw us, here’s what we do and how we can help?”
Did Sally open that last email 4 times, click on all your links, forward it to 3 colleagues and sign up for your webinar? Sally could very well be in the market for your widget. This is a perfect opportunity for your sales team to call Sally.
Treatment for hot prospects
For the people you had really serious conversations with at the trade show, but you couldn’t quite close the deal, reach out with a personalised email.
I’m not talking about Dear <insert name here>, I’m talking about a real email. Sure, use a template for part of it, but make sure that each of these people know that you heard their pain points and reiterate how your widget is the item to solve those pains.
Did you have a conversation about a hobby you both share or maybe you’re both from the same city? Mention that! That little extra work can mean the difference between an email being deleted and another deal signed. If appropriate for your business/product then it’s great to extend your show offer for a further few days, but make sure that people understand that it’s a very limited offer and limited only to those who came to see you at the show.
Responding to clients
This brings us to your existing clients or even potential clients who you thought you’d see at the show, but for whatever reason you couldn’t connect with there. Contact them. You know the old saying that it costs more to secure a new client than to keep an existing one happy. Reach out with a simple, sorry I missed you at the show, is there anything else I can help you with? Anything you need? This is also the perfect opportunity to upsell.
The post-event routine isn’t just about following up on leads, it’s also making sure that you were billed correctly, feedback on services and other housekeeping items. Post show, I always reconcile my invoices. This is to make sure that any at-show orders that I made was charged correctly, that I wasn’t billed twice, etc…
This is also a good time for an in depth follow up with your vendors about the level of service that you received. If there were problems with service that you received at the show you probably mentioned it on site, but now is a good time for a full debrief with your account manager or contact.
It’s good to mention it to the people delivering the service, but often they aren’t authorised to issue discounts. If you felt that the level of service was lacking, then this conversation is a great time to ask about this. However, this is only to be used if you truly felt like something was lacking and not because you went over budget somewhere else and you’re trying to make up for it.
Unpacking & checking
Finally, the other thing that you want to get into the habit of is unpacking.
Unpack all your materials from the show as soon as you can, preferably before the next show. This is a great time to examine all your items to ensure nothing was broken in transit and if it was broken then to file a claim with your shipper and have the item fixed.
It’s also the perfect time to take stock of what you have left and what you need to order for your next event. This saves you shipping around a box of rubbish from show to show, with half your items missing and paying for the package’s dead weight. A cost you can definitely do without.
As you can see, event dismantle goes long beyond the last crate getting packed. If you get into the habit of creating your post-event routine it will come just as easy to you as preparing and doing the actual show.