There is no doubt that trade shows can form an important part of certain company’s marketing efforts. A captive and receptive audience milling around stands and attending seminars looking for companies to do business with. In return for getting in front of these willing prospects, exhibitors are willing to spend their cash.
Think about the associated costs for a second:
- The exhibition space
- The stand design and build
- The lighting and electrics
- The marketing literature
- The transport to and from the event for the stand and equipment
- Overnight stays for staff, extra entrance tickets for clients, insurance
This all adds up to a fair proportion of some exhibitors marketing budgets.
Yet there is one thing that I can never understand about trade show exhibitors – why is their follow up so bad?
I imagine that my experience of being sold to at a trade show is very similar to everyone else’s:
- I have a look at a stand,
- I’m approached by a sales rep.
- We enter into a conversation about the product
- They give me a brochure and a business card and scan my badge
- I wander off to find a financial services stand that is giving away lollypops.
About 3 days later I get an email saying: “Thank you for visiting our stand, please get in touch if we can help you.” About a week later I get a telephone call from a sales rep asking me if I am interested in the product. I’m in the middle of something so I ask them to call back.
No call back.
When a company has invested so much time, money and effort in a trade show stand, why do they not follow up their prospects with a suite of carefully crafted, informative emails that are designed to help them make a buying decision? Even companies who have great online follow ups do not seem to understand that the principles should be applied to every area of their marketing, including trade shows.
A face to face meeting gives a sales team the perfect chance to gauge a customer’s interest and feel confident to ask for permission to follow up with them. Trade shows can also be used to gather data that can help you create better follow up campaigns for your prospects.
For example, get your sales staff to record any questions that are asked by more than 5 visitors to the stand and you will have a list of FAQ’s that have been given to you by your own prospects!
It really is that simple.