After exhibiting at trade shows and attending conferences, you get back to the office with a tall stack of new contacts. What’s next? Many of these individuals are worth reaching out to, whether they’re a sales lead or a professional in your field of work! Here are a few steps to add to your post-trade show checklist that will help expand your company’s and your own network:

1. Taking Notes While Collecting Contacts

This tip is one to keep in mind during the event, and is just as important as the action items below!

Your company likely has a CRM software or process when it comes to organizing all of the new contacts you’ve made. Add to this system by adding comments and including something from your conversation together. This not only helps you remember who they are, it’ll be a perfect way to refresh their memory of your conversation together. After all, the goal is to build upon a connection you’ve already made!

2. Distribute leads to the right teams

After you’ve gone through the list and distinguished who’s a qualified lead and who isn’t, start segmenting it based on the way your company is split up. If you don’t already organize your leads in this way, a few examples include segmentation by product interest, hot or cold leads, or even industry.

This point defines the rest of your contact’s experience, and can help you increase ROI! Choose wisely. Consider where they lie in the marketing funnel, whether they’re only aware of your product or they’re ready to take action. Some may need a little bit of nurturing and can be a good addition to your marketing team’s email list. Others might be ready for a full demo with the sales team!

3. Start off with a casual email

Keep it short and sweet, but make sure there’s a purpose behind your email. Whether this person is a prospective customer or someone in your industry, consider how this contact will benefit your company. Are you trying to achieve a new sale? Do you think this professional can share insight on your own business’ growth?

After you decided what the purpose is, type out a few drafts and cut it down as necessary. Make it clear and concise, but don’t forget a few key points to following up with trade show attendees:

  • Individualize every follow-up email. Remind this person who you are, what company you’re a part of starting with a simple,“Thanks for visiting our booth at the conference!”
  • Briefly mention where you met and include a point from the conversation you had during the trade show.
  • Include a call to action. This should just be a statement to put them on the path you’ve set out for them, whether it’s toward another department or a more in-depth conversation about your company.

4. Connect professionals with colleagues

You’re only as strong as your network. Take the time to develop that foundation at industry events like trade shows.

Meeting new professionals who share the same passion as you is one of the most exciting parts of these events! Many times, you’ll be able to share or even gain knowledge from this new contact. Other times, this contact may be a good resource for someone on your team, especially if they hosted a seminar during the event you attended. If that’s the case, CC your colleague in the follow-up email. Do a formal introduction. Then, guide the conversation as you feel fit, whether your colleague needs insight on a common issue or just works in a similar field. The point is to give everyone an opportunity to grow from one another!

Also, be sure to reach out on LinkedIn while their memory of you is still fresh!

5. Arrange an in-person meeting

You’re building upon a relationship, so why not meet in person? It can be as simples as grabbing a cup of coffee or can be as organized as an in-office meeting with colleagues. It’s all dependent on the purpose of this meeting and how much you want to gain out of the relationship.

Scheduling a casual coffee meeting can help a cold lead warm up to your company. This will give them the extra nudge they need from a familiar face. If that’s something you can do to help the sales and marketing team, there’s no harm in it! If we’re talking about someone who hosted a talk at a convention, they might be someone who can share their knowledge with your team in an organized meeting. This not only helps you, it helps that individual meet more professionals from your company!

Keep in mind that building that relationship doesn’t end with those 5 tips. To grow that professional network, you need to keep working on it and tending to the contacts you’ve added. For more tips on what to do during and after a trade show event, browse our blog.