Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of trade show exhibitors say they participate to generate leads.

If this is the case for you, remember that the journey doesn’t stop at lead generation. To see a good return on your trade show investment, you need to follow up and connect with the leads you generated during the event — and connect fast!

Here are 7 trade show follow-up tips that will help you increase conversions and see great results.

1. Categorize Your Leads

An effective follow-up process begins with careful organization and categorization. Divide your leads into groups based on the amount and type of information you received about each one.

The following are some specific group labels you might use to categorize leads:

  • Sales prospects
  • Potential business partners
  • Potential vendors
  • Journalists and press
  • Industry influencers
  • Competitors

Once you’ve categorized your leads, further divide them into hot, warm, and cold categories. The hot leads are those who indicated they wanted to continue learning about your business — they’re the ones you’ll follow up with first.

Hint: Taking notes during the event can help you better manage your leads and streamline this step.

2. Build Profiles for Each Lead

To improve your outreach efforts and strengthen your connection with hot leads, build a profile for each one after the event.

An easy way to build a profile is to search for each lead on LinkedIn and learn more about them. Take note of relevant details, then include those (naturally, of course) in your follow-up messages.

You can create a spreadsheet to help with this step, or you can use event lead capture software. These tools make it much easier to take notes on your leads, categorize them, build profiles, and more.

3. Create a Multi-Step Follow-Up Sequence

It takes time to connect with leads — no matter how interested they seemed in your products or services during the trade show.

This is why you need to follow a multi-step sequence when reaching out to potential clients or customers.

For example, the first step could be sending a LinkedIn request and a custom message. Then, you could reach out by phone the next day.

A few days later, you might send an email “bump” in case your first message got buried in their inbox. Then, you might call again a couple of days after.

4. Reach Out Right Away

This tip is especially important for hot leads. The sooner you get in touch, the more likely they are to A) remember you and B) want to continue the conversation you started at the event.

Ideally, you’ll follow up via email or LinkedIn the day after the event — or perhaps even the same day. This shows that you’re serious about building a relationship.

5. Personalize Lead Follow-Up Messages

Resist the urge to send generic messages to several leads.

It may be tempting to do this to streamline the follow-up process. However, people can tell the difference between a personalized message and one that’s been copied and pasted.

If you take the time to personalize your messages, they’ll stand out from the crowd and yield better results.

6. Monitor Progress

Take note of how the follow-up process is going and monitor the progress made with each lead.

Encourage your team members to create weekly follow-up reports. That way, you can keep track of which leads are the most interested in making purchases, which leads need more nurturing, etc.

7. Be Persistent (Without Pestering)

It takes time to move someone through the sales funnel and convert them from a hot lead to a paying customer.

Don’t be discouraged if someone doesn’t invest in your product or service immediately after connecting with you at a trade show.

Stay in touch (but don’t overdo it and become a pest), continue to nurture the lead, and leave the door open for future opportunities.

Bottom Line: Follow-Up Matters

The right follow-up strategy can make or break the outcomes of your next trade show or convention.

Keep the tips discussed above in mind so you can follow up with the right leads, keep the conversation going, and make some sales.

Need more help with your trade show strategy? Reach out to us at Skyline E3 today to learn more about services.