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Don’t Make This Mistake at Your Next Trade Show

By , October 29, 2019

We were all so busy creating the perfect booth, setting it up, and taking it down, that we lost sight of the entire reason we came there in the first place.

With winter fast approaching, I’ve heard from many business owners that they’re planning to attend trade shows and conferences. So I thought I’d tell you a story.

I’ll never forget our first trade show. We were so excited about connecting with some great prospects. After the show, we got back to the office, and someone asked, “Who’s got the bag with the business cards?” (Mind you, this was back in the pre-digital age.) After a heart-wrenching search, we realized that the hard-won cards had been completely misplaced, probably still attending the trade show under a forgotten table.

We were all so busy creating the perfect booth, setting it up, and taking it down, that we lost sight of the entire reason we came there in the first place.

That disappointment was difficult to swallow, but it taught me an important lesson. No matter how excited you are for a trade show, how many leads you speak to, and how successful you feel it went, it all means nothing if you don’t have an effective system for following up with leads.

Let me share a fundamental system that I’ve been using for years. We divide leads into three categories, A, B, and C:

Category A: These are hot leads—people who need immediate follow-up.
Category B: These are warm leads who may need follow up eventually.
Category C: These leads need nurturing and should be on your list for a long term strategy.

You’ve invested so much time and money in finding new leads—don’t treat them carelessly. Here are some additional Ptex Practical Pointers to keep in mind if you’re planning on attending any trade shows this year.

1. Don’t assume you’ll remember everything.

Prep your team with a simple-but-efficient system for keeping track of all the leads that come in. If you can automate the process, even better.

2. Designate someone to follow up.

Know in advance who is going to follow up with leads from categories A, B, and C before the event. Prepare a clear system for how to qualify the leads, record interactions, and follow up after the show.

3. Never try to close sales at the event.

Remember that no matter how long the event is, your time is limited. Try to make as many connections as possible, but never try to close a sale at the show. A healthy conversation can follow afterward.

Trade shows are a ton of work, and such a precious opportunity to get new leads into your pipeline. Don’t waste it! Make sure you and your team have the proper follow-up system in place—and go close those deals.

Are you planning to attend an event in the near future?  If so, and you’re looking for some help or strategy advice, please hit reply to this email, and let’s see how we can help you achieve success.

—MH

Meny Hoffman

Meny Hoffman

Meny Hoffman is the Chief Executive Officer of Ptex Group, an Inc. 500/5000-ranked marketing and business services firm headquartered in Brooklyn, NY.

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