After the show is over and you are back in your office, it is time to review your contact lists. There are many different lists and reports that you can receive or create yourself to use when following up with the potential buyers at the show.
Depending on the show where you exhibited, you should have access to the attendees list accumulated by the show sponsors. Each show is different, but you have options to buy or receive lists with email addresses, mailing addresses and other pertaining information to use to follow up with any or all the buyers who attended the show.
If you collected business cards or took notes of the buyers in your booth, this is the best place to start your follow up campaign. Since some buyers do not make a buying decision at the show, phone or email follow up was critical to closing a sale. After a buyer visits numerous booths at a show, they can be confused about the information they collected or where they found that information. Follow up calls or emails give you the opportunity to clear up any questions or concerns the buyers may have to making their decisions. Making a follow-up call to the buyers within a week or two of the show gave them enough time to review or share the information they collected. If not, the call was a great reminder to take a second look at your materials. And, of course, there are buyers who will be ready to order when you make your first contact.
Gift shows should be viewed as a long-term investment. Not every buyer is going to place an order with you at the show or even during the year of the show. And, just like visiting your customers in their stores, the more buyers you see in the venue of where they wish to buy, the greater your chance is to sell to them. In our case, I discovered the stores that remained long term buyers were ones who I visited later during my on-site sales visits. I discovered personal follow up sells more than any flyer, phone call or exhibits at gift shows.
On the other hand, there are producers that ONLY exhibit at gift shows which can be a different model than the one I outlined here. When talking with producers who sell only through gift shows, they tell me their buyers visit their booths with regularity to see the new products and place their orders.