So, you have survived another trade show! Hopefully you got some great leads, connected with customers and learned some best practices from the seminars. Hey, I bet you even had a little fun!
Even though the trade show is officially over, there are still ways to capitalize on your time and financial investment.
Here are some tips for post-trade-show activities to squeeze the most out of your visit:
1. Utilize your travel time wisely
Sure you could sleep, but if you will be traveling home by plane, use your wait and flight time to get a head start!
- Organize your receipts and complete your expense report.
- Carry on that stack of marketing materials and trade publications you picked up and go through them. Find what’s useful, tear it out for future scanning and filing, and recycle the rest with your diet soda can as you exit the plane.
- Read through any notes you took at panels or wandering the exhibit floor to determine if there was information you wanted to act on.
- Create a to-do list of the contacts you want to reach out to, or other follow up you want to make, while it is all still fresh in your mind.
While away from home and office for so long, it’s tempting to dive in and immerse yourself in all that’s waiting from your absence — from a stack of mail to an empty fridge.
You will thank yourself for getting some of these administrative tasks out of the way.
2. Huddle with your team the second day you are back in the office
Let everyone have the first day to take care of any fires that might be waiting for them, and organize the group for a lunch meeting on the second day. While everything is fresh in your mind, review what worked and what could be improved on regarding your booth and overall presence.
Invite each person share their takeaways: maybe the top two things they learned or the top two contacts they met.
Briefly review which sessions various colleagues attended and ask them to prepare a 20-minute presentation on the topic to share with the others.
3. Share the wealth
Lead “brown bag sessions” for the next couple of weeks (depending on how many people attended the trade show and how big your office is) on a designated day, say, every Thursday at lunch.
Each week, have two or three people share the information gleaned from the show seminars. It can be as formal or informal as you like. The goal is to share best practices with those who attended different sessions, as well as those who “held down the fort” while the team was away.
4. Follow up with your new contacts
Give them a few days to settle back into their routine as well, and then touch base with anyone you met with whom you want to keep in touch. (See my article on if “You’re Not Networking, You’re Not Working” for tips on low-key ways to reach out without appearing stalker-ish.)
If you wait too long, you run the risk of them having already forgotten your encounter, so don’t let this languish.
5. Utilize your social media channels to converse about the event
Send photos of your team and booth, to literally put a face on your company. Share something interesting you learned. Give statistics on how many people visited your booth or something else noteworthy. Share links of your media coverage. Ask your followers their impressions of the show.
6. Say thanks
A little appreciation goes a long way. Let the trade show organizers know you appreciated how hard they worked. Thank the folks who put in long hours at the booth, as well as those who put in long hours at the office during the team’s absence.
7. Start planning for next year
Think I’m kidding?! There’s no better time than now to put the next year’s date on the calendar, review your successes from the current year and suggestions for how to improve your presence. Find out how to get panel or discussion speaking spots. Reserve a hospitality suite before the primo ones are nabbed.
And then relax, knowing that your investment of time post trade show will make next year’s event that much smoother!