Operations

How To Do A Post-Show Follow-Up

Jim Luff
Posted on October 31, 2018

Don't leave your new connections hanging!
Don't leave your new connections hanging!
To benefit from an industry trade show requires fol­low-up. This quick guide will help you get the most out of a convention by organizing how you handle and apply the information from the show.

Educational Lessons Learned

The National Limousine Association organizes workshops at LCT-NLA East to provide valuable information, and many have great take-home materials such as workbooks, handouts, brochures, and of course, the spoken words of the speaker. When you get home, it’s time to make use of those tips and ideas, or else what was the point of attending? If a particular speaker ad­dressed some areas of concern or provided solutions to problems or situations you are experiencing, introduce yourself after the session and ask for a business card. Ask if it would be okay to call or email them when you get home to address your specific circumstances.

Exhibit Hall Strategies

The exhibit hall can be overwhelming. Our natural instinct is to try and visit every booth in the hall. Exhibitors should be broken down into three categories: Those you definitely want to buy from; those you may buy from; and those that don’t interest you. Collect business cards from vendors you will or might do business with, and separate them into two piles. You can keep them in a rubber band or create two files on your phone for photos. Take photos of all the reps, booths, and products.

Awards Programs

Have you ever attended an industry awards show such as the LCT People’s Choice Awards? Did you wonder what it might take for you to be recognized for your hard work? Listen to the stories of the winners. What did they do that was deemed worthy of an award? Write down the awards you are interested in winning, and start working on your submission for next year using the information gleaned from other winners.

Networking Follow-Up

This is by far the most challenging. With many networking events at any given show, there is no doubt you will meet lots of new people. For attendees you really want to stay connected with, take a photo of their business cards as soon as possible so you don’t mix them up with someone else. Consider taking a selfie with them. As soon as you get home, email them your contact information, the city or area you serve, and maybe a photo of the two of you. Remem­ber, they met just as many new faces and might need help remembering you. Make sure you increase your chances for affiliate business by opening the lines of communication.

Effective Notetaking

Taking notes during an educational session can be difficult if the session is fast paced. If there are multiple speakers or panel members, write down their names before the session begins. If you write a note based on comments of a specific panel member, enter their initials next to the note so you can follow-up with them for clarification if needed.

Abbreviate in a style you will understand when you read it later. Remember, it may be weeks before you read these notes, and if you can’t read your own writing, it becomes useless. For instance, writing something like, “Safety/Pre-Check/Pro­cedure” might not be as helpful as writing, “See handout from Safety Class with Joe Guinn re: pre-check procedures.”

Tools of the trade show...trade?
Tools of the trade show...trade?
Trade Show Tools

  •  Smartphone: Use your phone to record educational sessions and association meetings. You can play them back at your leisure to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
  • Sharpie pen: Use a Sharpie to write on glossy business cards, flyers or brochures. Taking notes will make follow-up easier when you get home.
  • Highlighter: Use one during educational sessions to emphasize points related to your business as the speaker talks about it.
  • Rubber bands: Use these to bundle business cards into separate piles of people you need to follow-up with and those you prefer to keep on file.

Great Ideas provides a broad range of information focused on new ideas and approaches in management, human resources, customer service, marketing, networking and technology. Have something to share or would like covered? Contact LCT contributing editor and California operator JIM LUFF at [email protected]

Related Topics: How To, industry education, industry events, limo tradeshows, tradeshow preparation, tradeshows

Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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