This is the moment of truth: Exhibits don't work - people work.
After thorough preparation and planning, you met and exceeded your
goals for the show. Nice job, way to go, feels good… or does it?
You have just made one of the most important investments in
your business future - your time, money and resources. You next
step is a debriefing session with the team who worked the booth.
Ask these questions.
From this information develop the "results report and action plan"
based on the goals and objectives for the show and the information
the team collected.
- What went right?
- What could have been done better?
- If we could turn back the clock and work this show again (knowing
what we know now) what would we change? What would we do differently?
- How will we improve our next performance?
- Who should be rewarded for outstanding achievement?
- What do we need to start doing now, to be ready for the next
- What is our plan to turn this into a great return on investment?
Ask: How can we turn this into a gold mine?
Determine to whom and when you are going to mail information and
whom you need to call. Design a timeline for completing these tasks
Example: In the timeline process you decide to make ten contacts
each week to follow up with the new prospects you met at the show.
Effective follow-up begins in the pre-planning stages long before
the show opens. Be sure that during your pre-show production phase
you design this campaign to meet your goals.
This is important - your leads are fresh, they are hot and timing
is critical. So many times organizations drop the ball here. They
wait to design the follow-up plan after the show. Then it's always
something. Other management teams need to agree and compile the
strategy, and heaven forbid there is a committee involved that
will need to approve everything.
Then there are meetings to attend, phone calls to return, e-mail
to answer, orders to fill, mandatory training sessions, late orders
to track, your bread and butter customers need hand holding, overdue
deadlines, fires to put out, more committee meetings, throw in
a trip to the west coast, plan for the next show and hey - get
a life too. In your spare time you can follow up on your leads
from the show. The leads get cold - fast - real fast. How fast?
Think about this: your odds of closing a hot prospect will diminish
over 80 percent within 30 days. Chances are your competition at
the show will contact them first, and your credibility may need
rebuilding. Will you need another show to do that?
Making phone calls can be a great way to make contacts. Many
organizations ignore, and miss the opportunity for post-show exhibit
information gathering, and evaluation, with their qualified leads.
This is a good way to reestablish rapport, and get feedback about
the overall show and the exhibits, including the competition.
It is time to develop the relationship, complete a detailed needs
analysis, create proposals, ask for the orders and close the sales.
Here are some tips for the ultimate marketeer:
- Design your follow-up marketing plan way in advance.
- Write your follow-up letters before the show.
- Design and print your post cards for follow-up.
- Plan your phone scripts.
- Coordinate the timing of this process with data base management
Timing is everything
If your mail contact arrives right away with the other mail from
the show, then it is with a huge pile that has built up since the
prospect has been at the show, and will not get the time it deserves.
You will get noticed if you use special sending options like
Federal Express (from the image perspective, the best way to send
a package); you also need a huge budget, so look at the options.
If your timing is good, you will have visibility as long as
you don't land in the huge pile of mail. You and your organization
will be remembered from the show if you have developed good rapport.
The prospect will be looking for these things.
Dependability: Did you send what you said you would? Image:
Does the package, letter, post card, live up to the prospect's image of your organization? Personal Contact: Are your phone calls
effective? Are you asking the right questions? Are you developing
rapport with each contact?
Now the big question: How many times should you make contact?
Many studies show that the sale is made after the eighth contact.
Most sales people send one or two letters, make a few phone calls,
sometimes ask for the order, rarely develop a relationship and
expect to make a real good living. Get real. Doing the same thing
over and over again but expecting different results, is a great
definition of insanity.
Develop relationships, maintain a good image and reputation
for doing what you say you will do, deliver what you promise.
By helping people get what they want, you will make a very good
living and enjoy a very rewarding career.