Meeting people at an exhibition or networking events is easy. Turning these new contacts into valuable business relationships is another story altogether.
Sales teams often attend exhibitions and networking events to increase brand awareness with no strategy on what to do with the contacts they generate after the event.
Research tells us that 62% of businesses fail to follow up with these contacts after the event which is a huge amount of missed revenue (and wasted effort).
Trying to prospect for leads in a busy exhibition hall can be a little too much so we’ve put together our five top tips on what your team can do to get the most out of exhibitions and networking events and come away with a little more than just a bundle of business cards.
Find Out Who’s Going
Understanding the event’s attendees can really help you understand what your audience will look like on the day. Is the event specific to a sector? What discussions, talks or keynote presentations are people paying to learn more about?
Most events offer way in which businesses can find out who will be attending. With an attendee list in hand, you can create a targeted list of people to connect with on LinkedIn or even send a warm welcome via email to the people you would like to meet.
How Can We Do This
- Checking out the events speakers and sponsors.
- Seeing who is posting about the event on social media.
- Joining the event’s social media groups and checking out the member list.
This way you can plan ahead so that you’ll have opportunities to connect with potential customers in person or identify more ideal new contacts.
Tell Your Customers You Are Attending
If some of the event attendees are current clients, there could be opportunities to educate existing customers in person on new products, or make sure they are still happy with your services. They might even personally recommend or introduce you to new business contacts.
CAUTION: overspending your time talking to chatty clients. Make sure you have an exit plan in place for customer conversations so that you can maximise your selling time during the event. Pursuing new opportunities should be at the top of your agenda.
Use a CRM Mobile Application
After an event, many sales contacts slip through the cracks when a sales professional forgets to enter the new contact information into their CRM. Having a mobile CRM at your fingertips means that you can add your new contacts directly after each meeting.
But what if potential leads don’t have a business card on them? LinkedIn – open up the app and hand it to the person you are talking to, and say, ‘It’s been really good to meet you. Can we connect on LinkedIn?’ This is a proven and very successful sales technique, fantastic way of networking naturally in today’s digital age.
Take Notes on The Most Valuable Meetings
At exhibitions you will meet many people and potentially have mini meetings with the people on your target list. These all need to be documented in your CRM. Always remember to record any objections and questions that are raised during the conversation. This will help you get through your leads quicker.
When the meeting leaves your memory, the opportunity drifts away.
Create Follow-ups and Prioritise Business Opportunities
Before attending any events make sure you put a process in place so that everyone on your sales team knows who should be following up and how to prioritise opportunities.
Understand REAL opportunities. Serious customers tend to say at some point during the conversation that they either “want to work with us, they’re talking with a competitor, or they’re trying to do it in-house.”
Finally, make sure you record the event the customer attended against the contact. Many CRMs have tagging features that can be used for this very purpose. You won’t have any way to measure your ROI on events if your staff aren’t connecting first contacts to each specific event. This information is critically important to determine how much money your company should spend on event attendance in the future.