5 things I have learnt from exhibiting, part 3
Part 3 of 3
4. The Next Steps
We all know that the follow up from the exhibition is absolutely crucial! The people that we have met are going to receive hundreds of emails from other exhibitors – So how do we stand out and be memorable?!
It sounds obvious, but I have learnt that although they are far more time consuming, bespoke and personalised individual emails are far more productive than a mail merge with generic venue information. As we have taken the time to make notes about the people that we have met, the events that they hold and the information that they need from us, we are able to send an eye-catching picture of the appropriate room along with a brief message with key details and an invitation to visit the venue. In addition to inviting clients for individual site visits, we also try to also host a few follow up events for new clients after each show to give people a reason to visit and an opportunity to see an event in action!
Setting reminders in my diary to get back in touch later in the year at key dates following events, budget meetings etc. also helps with being at the forefront of the clients’ mind at the right time. I also find that keeping activity notes after each meeting and conversation has been invaluable.
5. “Show Me The Money!!” Jerry Maguire
Of course we need to track ROI from the show and to evaluate its success, but what I have learnt is that patience really is a virtue! Business isn’t always instant, enquiries might not come through that week or even that year! It might be a couple of years before we see a confirmation from our new contacts (especially those that we have met at the international shows)
I have learnt that there can be 8 points of contact on the buyers’ journey before they make the confirmation. Maybe we meet them at an exhibition, we invite them to come in for an open morning, then we then see them at a networking event a few weeks later and again at another show several months later, maybe their event isn’t for a couple of years and we get back in touch the following year and have a coffee. What I now know is not to think in the short term and to focus more on the relationships that I am building. Once strong relationships are established, the bookings will follow.