By: Sharon Shaw, Tech Systems, Client Development Manager
5 Things To Do After a Tradeshow:
I just got home from ASIS, I’m exhausted, my feet hurt and the last thing I want to do is schedule more meetings. Sound familiar? The truth is, the magic after an event like ASIS happens after the event. Sure you get that immediate excitement after running into an old colleague who could refer you business, or making inroads with a new prospective client. But then what? All too often we fail to follow through. So, as I began my own follow up I thought I’d share the steps I’m taking in case this helps any other professionals trying to get the most out of their tradeshow investment.
1) Write EVERYTHING down!!! Whether you do anything else with your notes other than just write them in the first place, that is worth the time and effort. Studies show that by writing something down you remember it much more clearly than if you don’t. What should you write down?
- New Contacts: Who did you meet? Where did you meet them? How can you help them? How can they help you? When can you set up an additional meeting/phone call to continue the discussion? If you don’t follow up, then you may as well shred their business card. The value is in what happens AFTER the show. Connect with them on Linked-In, schedule a coffee break, send them an article you think they would find interesting. Whatever you do, keep the conversation alive.
- New Products: What did you see that made you think of all the clients/applications that could leverage that technology? For me it was ASSA ABLOY’s new line of green locks that greatly reduce power consumption and cost. Or Sharp’s new ruggedized robot that can patrol the outdoor perimeter at a fraction of the cost of posting guards. Who could benefit from it? How can you get them to see the potential? Set up a demo, send an introduction email, send a spec sheet to the decision maker. Chances are, someone else thought that product had the same potential you did, and if you don’t bring it to your clients first, someone else may beat you to it.
- New Ideas: I am the worst at coming back from an event and brain-dumping on everyone around me. But, if I don’t do that then what I saw and learned will be limited to what I remember. Again, writing it down will help, but sharing your knowledge is even better. Share what you learned with your team and connections. Help them get value out of the time and energy you already invested.
2) Consider how you can make the next one more successful.
We should have had branded cocktail napkins at the networking reception (nice touch S2!). We should have had Joe attend as he could have helped us connect with this group. We should have scheduled these meetings in advance so we had more time and undivided attention… All these ideas that come to you sound like complaints unless you make a commitment to do something about it. There is always room for improvement, but don’t allow yourself to be having these same thoughts year after year. Make your suggestions known, make the necessary decisions, and commit to these ideas before you begin planning for the next event.
3) Take your suits to the cleaners!
I know, it’s silly, right? But seriously… I don’t know who spilled nacho cheese on my jacket (because it certainly wasn’t me!), but someone did. Don’t wait until you need to wear that jacket again to get it freshened up. Spend the money, keep your tradeshow threads looking sharp.
4) Say “thank you”.
Who made your show successful? Was it an administrative person who managed to schedule 337 meetings for each day? Was it a mentor who took you around so you could learn from them and hear how they handle these events? Was it the tradeshow staff who made your experience valuable? Or the instructors who truly educated you on a complex topic? Or your supervisor who approved the funds for you to attend? Send some thank you cards, or tout them on social media. Do something to express your gratitude in the investment they made in your success.
5) Make a list of what you’re going to do differently.
This applies most clearly when you’ve attended an education event and learned new skills that you can apply to your job today. However, we all go through the decompressing process where we remember the things we could have done better, leading up to and during the event. In my case, I always look back on who I could have spent more time with, what I could have said differently, etc. Whatever the case may be, there is always room for improvement and refinement. Make a list of changes you can make on your own and start making them. Then make a list of changes that require you to collaborate with others. Maybe it’s just 1, 2 or 3 things… but if you do it now, you’ll be able to look back on ASIS 2016 knowing that you got the most out of it.