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By Rama Beerfas


February 1, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – We’ve identified the three components of a successful trade show marketing plan:


• Have a system in place for attracting potential customers to the exhibit.
• Qualify those people who visited the booth.
• Follow up with those visitors who left contact information.

Last month, we looked at some methods to qualify the people who visit your booth as legitimate prospects. This month, we’ll explore the most critical part of the trade show process: the post-show follow-up.

The one thing most responsible for a trade show’s success is what happens once the show is over.

If the vendor packs up the display, the marketing materials and the lead information they got at the show and then ships it all back to the office only to forget about it all until the next show, then the show will probably be remembered as a dismal failure. Any potential business leads will have to take the initiative to make contact in order to start the relationship. Worse yet, any promises of forthcoming information to prospects won’t be fulfilled and the prospects may view the vendor as inept and move on to their competitor.

The most important thing is to know where your leads information is. If you are collecting business cards or other contact information forms, make sure that someone is assigned to collect it at the end of each day of the show and keeps it in a safe place. If you are collecting data electronically, confirm that you have that information collected from or sent to you by the show management at the end of the show.

Don’t make the fatal mistake one of my clients made of renting a booth display, using the built-in box to keep the lead information and then forgetting to take the leads out before returning it to the rental place. The display was cleaned out and turned around to another renter within 24 hours and the leads went into the trash.

If possible, start your follow-up procedures each night after the show. Go through your leads from that day and put into motion those things that have to happen to fulfill your prospect’s requests and/or your promises. If that is not feasible, then make sure this is your priority within the first two days of returning to the office. Your prompt and thorough follow-up will make an impression; especially when compared to those vendors who don’t make the effort.With the proper pre-show preparation, on-the-floor qualification, and post-show follow-up, you will discover that exhibiting at a trade show or tabletop show can be an experience that will benefit the company immensely.

Rama Beerfas is Chief Solutions Specialist for San Diego-based Lev Promotions, offering marketing consulting, promotional products, and business gifts. Lev Promotions also assists clients with tradeshow displays, pre-show planning, booth staff training and post-show follow-up. Rama also offers seminars and training in marketing and customer service related topics. She can be reached at (619) 697-2045 or at or visit Column requests and comments are welcome.


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