Trade show follow-up used to be a nightmare for my company’s sales people until we automated the process with technology.

Now we re-connect within minutes with the people we meet at our booth. We impress them with our diligence and attention. We sell more as a result. We do it all with less time and effort than we used to spend.

This time-saving, business-building approach applies not just to trade shows, but also to any scenario in which you get contact information from someone with the promise that you’ll “be in touch soon.”

Here’s how we do it…

Before we attend a trade show, we draft the follow-up note we will send to booth visitors. We build an online form to enter name and email. We either make that form available to visitors (“…Please enter your name and email in this computer…”), or we enter the contact information ourselves after receiving a business card.

We programmed the form to integrate with our email marketing engine. As soon as we enter the name and email address, that data ports across the internet to add the person to our “tradeshow sign-up” list in our email system.

We also programmed the email system to send the pre-drafted follow-up email to the recipient immediately. The system merges first name into the follow-up email.

Here’s an example of an email we have used often…

“Dear Patricia: Thanks for swinging by the our booth. I hope the conference is going well for you and good luck on winning the $100 Gift Card! I wanted to also invite you to learn more about us during a short webinar where I’ll be hitting many of our platform’s primary features.”

The email continues with links to our webinars and additional information about our products and services.

In many cases, the email lands before the prospect has left our booth. We receive great feedback from recipients who thank us for the quick turnaround.

We generate great open rates on these emails — better than 75 percent in most cases.
Such emails don’t replace the more personal follow-up phone call or email. When you have a prospect who asked specific questions, requested certain information or just seemed generally interested, a personal call or email must follow. But the quick follow-up is a great touch in the interim.

With the right email system, you can track not just who opened the follow-up, you also can track who clicked the links. This helps you identify your warmest prospects and instructs who may be interested in more.

We used to collect business cards in a fish bowl, scramble a day or two after the show to enter the cards into a spreadsheet, and then — finally — get in touch with people we met. That’s too late. By using automated technology, we follow-up instantly, with less effort and better results.

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