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How to visit a trade fair (Part 3)? A few tips for after your visit

How to visit a trade fair (Part 3)? A few tips for after your visit

If you are in the B2B-world, you will be confronted with the question to participate to trade fairs or not, whether as a visitor or an exhibitor. In the last years, I came across various opinions concerning this, and often it comes to your own objectives. But one thing is for sure, whether visiting or exhibiting, your fair experience can only be a success if you prepare it, execute it correctly, and follow it up.

Based on experience on different fairs in the past years, in several posts, I would like to share a few tips on both visiting and exhibiting. 

You had a great visit, so what's next?

The fair is over, you came back and you got some rest. Now back in the office, it’s time to digest all the information you gathered, analyze the results and act on the next steps.

Strike the iron while it’s hot. Some of you might be surprised. But many people don’t do follow-ups after trade fairs. Yes indeed, you have been absent from your desk, so obviously there will be some urgent emails and messages that require your immediate attention. But that’s no excuse to leave all these contacts freshly made unattended for many days, or even worse, to forget about them. So as soon as you can just follow up with these basic actions :

Debriefing : Make a summary and use the info internally

Often the first question I get when I went to a fair is : “So did you see anything interesting?”. This is not an innocent question; your time at the fair was not just a fun trip out of the office. Prove to your colleagues, and yourself, that it was useful.

Maybe not everybody in your company could make it to the event, so they’ll wonder what you did, who did you see and what did you discover. Also others who came with you will wonder what were your important learning points.

Fairs give you the opportunity to check out the latest trends, see what other players are doing in the sector. Also, as these events are great networking opportunities, you will be able to hear ‘off the record’ information, and learn the health of your sector. 

Update your database and expand your network

Do you remember in my first post I mentioned the importance of setting your targets? Well now you can measure how many new contacts you made. Of course, these need to be entered in your database. Also, invite them to join your professional social networks (e.g. Linkedin…), to register to your newsletter if you have one…

Next steps: get back in touch and keep your promises

After you debriefed internally, you can decide on new action plans. But most importantly, keep your promise to your freshly made contacts.

If these are current clients/prospects, don’t forget to send your latest news as promised, and thank them for the time they allocated for you on their booth.

For new prospects, follow it up as soon as possible. They maybe also received a visit from your competition. But whether it is the case or not, a contact made which is followed shortly after the event, will give a much better impression than radio silence. 

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