Whew, this year’s IFTD was a whirlwind and a big success here in Denver. While at the show I met up with a bunch of clients. Hung out with old friends. And met several new prospects. As the show wraps up I’m getting ready to follow up with a few leads I had positive interactions with. Here’s a simple framework for developing meaningful conversations with new leads and increase sales.
While it’s easy to plow through your emails and play catch up the first day of an event, you don’t want to lose track of the contacts you made. Redirecting some of that focus to your new leads can ensure those long days on the show floor don’t go to waste.
1) Actually Connect
This seems like a no-brainer but less than 30% of all trade show exhibitors have a plan or process in place for following up with leads. Here are some tips to follow:
- Avoid Boilerplate. Don’t go online and search for an email template for conventional follow up. Doing this will ensure one thing, you’ll look like everybody else.
- Try video. According to HubSpot adding video to your sales emails can increase the open rate by 5X. We’ve seen similar results in the last few years and include a simple video in nearly all our sales emails. One possible subject line for your follow up email could be “[Prospect name], I made you a video to say thanks for the time at IFTD.
- Thank the prospect for their time. And remind them of your conversation. These conventions can be a whirlwind for people walking the show floor. A recap of your conversation can help jog their memory for what you talked about.
- Ask them to do something. It can be as simple as booking time on your calendar (we use a HubSpot meeting link) or as complex as downloading a piece of premium content. But asking your prospect to take an action will give you valuable insight into how interested they really are and allow your CRM and automated workflows to start collecting contextual data.
2) Classify Your Leads
Not everyone you meet is going to be a sale and you definitely need to know which ones are worth emailing directly. It’s worth developing a specific goal for each business card you collected at the show. We like to split our leads up into the following buckets:
Connected but not ready to sell
These are contacts who you meet throughout the show or at the after-parties. They may be junior members of a team or just interesting people you want to keep in touch with. I typically try to connect with these people through social media. I feel LinkedIn is the best platform to do that. It’s an opportunity to stay in touch through your channel and expose them to your news feed posts and so that you can see theirs.
Qualified to do business
These are the new accounts I’d like to target. My goal is much more direct as we discuss specific business opportunities. I like to schedule my follow up meetings at the show, so I already have it on the calendar. I will send a personal video email within a few days of the show, thanking them for their time and remind them of the talking points we discussed at the event, so they’re prepared during our phone call.
The last group of people may or may not be business opportunities. But they could be people who are your peers in the business. You may want to build a lasting relationship with them to bounce ideas or vent about problems. If you’re in the same city, asking for a recurring meeting might be a great way to build your network. You might also watch out for interesting articles you both find useful and shoot them an email about it from time to time.
IFTD and other industry trade shows are a great opportunity to meet new people and reconnect with old friends.
Following these simple strategies can help you increase sales, make sure your time is used efficiently and develops long lasting successful business opportunities.