Operations

Here Is Your Trade Show Follow-Up Strategy

Jim Luff
Posted on March 16, 2018

[NOTE TO READERS: This article first appeared in the March 14 edition of the International LCT Show Daily].

MANDALAY BAY, Las Vegas --- Before you can begin to build your strategy, you must first decide why you decided to attend. Here are four basic reasons for attending a trade show:

  • Networking /meet new people
  • Attend educational sessions
  • Buy new equipment/keep up with equipment
  • Buy support products such as insurance, software, training programs

This guide will help you prepare a follow-up strategy for each of the four areas mentioned above. Most of the value you gain from an International LCT Show emerges when you apply your gains in the following months. 

Networking & Meeting New People

If your main purpose is to network, your strategy begins with meeting as many people as you can and collecting their business card. Don’t simply collect the cards of potential affiliates but also those of vendors you might possibly do business with in the future. Bring a Sharpie with you so that you can write on glossy business cards. Use a coding system to identify the business opportunities each person brings to the table. Our suggestion is that you code them as follows:

A = Potential for inbound affiliate work

B = Potential to farm jobs out

C = Possible vendor

D = Possible mentor

E = Not really a potential

Obviously those with A and B codes are your top priority to reconnect with when you get home. Prepare two letters to send out to A and B codes. Both letters should begin with a thank you statement for the time spent with you at the show.  If you enjoyed a particular moment together such as sharing a meal or attending the same class, be sure to mention that so they can easily recall meeting you. 

Next, for cards coded with an “A”, take a moment to briefly explain the services you offer, anything unique about your company and your service area. For your “B” coded cards, send an affiliate agreement (if you have one) so that you can formally enter into an agreement with your new contact. Don’t wait until you have an order for their area. An agreement reminds them you are there to serve their clients in your city. Affiliate work should always be a two-way street.

Educational Sessions

Educational session provide great take-home value. Many ideas and solutions are provided in the sessions you will attend. If you plan to implement new ideas from a particular class, be sure to get all handouts along with the business card of the presenter. That card should be marked with a “D” code since many presenters are fellow operators and they enjoy sharing their knowledge. That is why they ended up being a presenter. They may be willing to send you additional information not

presented in the session due to time restraints of the session. 

Take screen shots of presentation slides of things you plan to implement or want to learn more about. You might also consider recording the session with your smartphone to capture all the details and play it back when you get home. Call or email the presenter to thank them for their presentation and ask any additional questions you may have. Creating a relationship beyond the classroom could provide opportunities for free consultations down the road.

Purchases

If you are looking to make a purchase and you have found the perfect vendor to meet your needs, mark the card with a “C” code and attach it to any written quote you receive at the show. Vendors are motivated for a return on their show investment and many offer show specials that are only available at the show. 

Many will offer show specials that may be valid for a limited time so it’s important to follow-up with them in a timely manner. Ask if they can extend the show pricing for 30 days and get it in writing on the quote.

Don’t Forget Local Publicity

Attending an International LCT Show is an investment into your company and the service you provide within your community. It is worthy of sharing with your community your commitment to safety, chauffeur training, changes in passenger transportation laws, and current trends in our industry.

You have probably read or heard about awards bestowed upon local businesses such as a restaurant being awarded a Zagat rating or a local car dealership recognized for high sales by a manufacturer such as Ford. Why not toot your own horn? You’re just as worthy and important. Your community will never know just how committed you are if you don’t tell them. Consider this your chance to shout it from the mountain. You should consider it a favor to your local media you are providing important information about a community business: Yours!  Prepare a press release and tell your local world about your show attendance and what you learned.

Related Topics: business cards, How To, ILCT 2018, industry education, limo tradeshows, National Limousine Association, networking, NLA, tradeshows

Jim Luff Contributing Editor
Comments ( 0 )
More Stories
Sam Mallikarjunan of HubSpot provided a wakeup call for operators who may have forgotten the importance of fitting their services to people’s needs.
Article

Solving Problems Is How You Sell

JULY LCT: LCT Technology Summit speaker Sam Mallikarjunan says it’s not about being cheap; it’s about being what people need when they need it.