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Mastering Trade Show Follow-Up

You've exhibited at a trade show, now what?

Most people build the business case by saying “I only need a couple of customers from this for it to pay off.” Now you're knackered after being on your feet all day, you've not had much sleep, and you want to unwind after the stress that goes with exhibiting. 

You’ve doubtless had some great conversations, people seemed easter and positive, and you’ve got plenty of hot leads. 

But the half-life of their interest is incredibly short. Leave your follow-up until you've recovered, and its curtains. Following up effectively is the key to ensuring the show was worthwhile. It starts the minute you’ve taken down your stand.

Know what good trade show follow-up looks like

Return on investment goes beyond immediate sales. Be upfront about what constitutes success and measure it. 

Don’t let yourself off the hook by thinking that growing awareness is an outcome in itself. It doesn’t pay the bills and you are not big enough to exhibit solely aiming to grow awareness.

Success could be sales, leads, connections, sign-ups, consultations, or even specific product feedback. Hold yourself and your team to account for this, otherwise you've paid for the privilege of conversations that don’t go anywhere. 

Manage Your Expectations

While some leads may convert into immediate sales, others will require nurturing. Be realistic, patient, persistent, and proactive in your approach to lead management. Focus on cultivating long-term connections where that is relevant, and where there are quick wins chase them down hard, but don't mix them up.

Strike While the Iron is Hot

Send personalised follow-ups within 48 hours. Never longer. Tailor them based on your specific interactions during the trade show. Reference your conversations to demonstrate authenticity. If you didn’t have a process for taking thorough notes about each conversation, write everything down before you forget it.

Provide Value

Your follow-up should be about them, not you. This encourages engagement. That could include exclusive content, a complimentary consultation, or a show-specific discount. You should be providing value that demonstrates your commitment to meeting their needs and sets the stage for meaningful future interactions.

You Care More Than They Do 

Attendees will have visited multiple stands, all your competitors, and they will forget you quickly. You might think they loved your product, but they will have loved plenty of things they saw and are unlikely to remember specifics. So remind them. 

Measure and Iterate

Track the outcomes of your follow-ups daily. It’s all over a week later. If you haven’t converted people to the desired outcomes, you are unlikely to from this point onwards.

Have a post-mortem to tweak your approach and improve for future shows.

Exhibiting is just the beginning. The real work happens in the trade show follow-up. Yes, you can automate some parts, but the relationship you cultivate and the leads that you nurture will be the things that drive positive outcomes. And that only comes by rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in. 


If this issue resonates and you want some help, drop us a line and we'll take you through some solutions. 


Exhibition in a grand hall
Trade shows come in all shapes and sizes


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