Ashley McHugh is a senior analyst and trainer at RedRover Sales & Marketing
Editor's Note: This is the second in a two-part series.
Does your company actually close sales on the trade show floor?
Trade shows can certainly heighten your brand awareness and guide prospects into your sales pipeline. However, unless you're selling goods or services at the trade show itself, your sales team needs a compelling follow-up strategy--and it starts before the event ends.
Never wait until the event is over to connect with a hot prospect you met at the show. Especially if the prospect expresses an immediate, pressing need that your brand could serve, your sales team should never delay digging deeper.
Why meet a dozen more lukewarm prospects, when you have an interested buyer right in front of you? If you have a hot prospect staying in a nearby hotel, make sure someone on your sales team follows up before the last day of the trade show.
Offer to take the prospect offsite for a quick lunch or meet in the hotel bar for drinks to talk more about their needs. Wherever you go, make sure it's away from the hustle of the trade show floor, in a low-pressure environment.
It doesn't have to take all afternoon, but investing quickly in a hot prospect shows that you connect with their sense of urgency--and it can set your brand apart from your competition by illustrating your dedication to client service.
Remember to capture all the information you learn about your new connections immediately. If you wait until the end of the day to take the business cards out of your pockets, valuable details will inevitably fall through the cracks. Make sure you jot down notes as you go.
Once the trade show ends, every strong follow-up strategy begins with a personal touch.
It may be tempting to add all of your new contacts to your marketing list, but if your company's first contact after the trade show is impersonal, you're likely to turn new prospects off.
Instead, make sure that your sales team follows up with each prospect individually. They might choose to send off a personalized email or make a quick phone call, but your sales team should strive to reinforce their one-to-one connection with each prospect as soon as they're back in the office.
Finally, make sure that your team is consistently adding value to each new relationship.
Segmenting your marketing list can help you reach the right buyers with the information that interests them most. However, your sales team will need to categorize these new prospects by interest before your marketing team can target them effectively.
Without a compelling follow-up strategy, your company may never generate a solid return on your trade show investment. Make sure your follow-up strategy is clearly outlined before the event begins, and your sales team will certainly convert more connections into clients.
Ashley McHugh can be reached at www.redrovercompany.com.