If you think you are
doing a great job following up on your
leads, unfortunately, the visitors to your
trade show exhibit may not agree. What you
consider good lead
fulfillment may look very
different to them.
In a blog post on her
Trade Show Institute blog, Traci Brown tells a
sorry tale about her visit to the AIBTM show, where
she happily had lengthy meetings with over 20
Unfortunately, after the show, only one exhibitor
truly followed up with her. Sure, the other
exhibitors followed up with big glossy brochures,
e-mail campaigns and the like.
But they were all
generic follow up messages. Only one exhibitor had specificfollow up that answered the specific
questions she raised while in their trade show
Why is that? Because most exhibitors’ lead
fulfillment process is simply not designed for
individualized lead fulfillment.
Most exhibitors get leads, and if they are somewhat
prepared, they have pre-set fulfillment packets
ready to go before the show starts. Then, after the
show, they put
names on letters and send them out.
It’s all they have time to do. But at the trade
shows, we don’t meet with generic leads, we meet
face-to-face with real, live individuals.
Individuals with specific needs, that if you ask and
listen, they’ll even tell you right at the show.
The First Missing Link: The Transfer From
the Booth Staffer to the Field Sales Rep
The first missing link in most exhibitors’ generic
lead fulfillment is passing on to the field sales
rep what your trade show visitors told you. And that
all starts with your booth
Your booth staffers must capture what your visitors
said is their situation and what they were looking
to solve. Your booth staffers must also write down
what they promised
your booth visitors would be the
next step – someone will call to set up an
appointment, we’ll send you info and prices on the
new products you liked, and so on.
Without knowing what your booth staffer promised,
you can’t fulfill on that promise. And when that
conversation is accurately and concisely captured,
it must quickly be routed
to the appropriate sales
rep, so they can take the right actions after the
The Second Missing Link: The Fulfillment
The second part of fixing trade show lead
fulfillment is customizing what you mail or e-mail.
You have to be willing and able to customize what
you send to your booth visitors
based on what they
said to your booth staffers. At minimum, your cover
letter should say that your company “was pleased to
meet you at the XYZ show, and that you’ve enclosed
your requested items, and that our company
representative will soon follow up about your needs
discovered in our booth.”
You only send the company brochures related to the
products your booth visitor asked for. You don’t
send 10 product brochures, when they only showed
interest in one product.
And, for sure, you send the
brochures for that one product!
If you want to truly fix the broken link in your
trade show lead fulfillment you tailor each
letter to directly respond to your booth visitor
conversations. Writing in the letter
that your booth
staffer learned you ask for ____, and so we will be
sending you a price quote/calling for an appointment
time/talking with our engineer about your
up samples to show you or
something else appropriate for the next step.
“We Can’t Do That, Can We?”
Now, I hear your objection to this: “We don’t have
time for this high level of customized lead
fulfillment! Our booth visitors expect an answer
fast!” Yes, booth visitors do expect a
— but as Traci’s experience shows, even more they
want the righ tanswers.
And you can pull this off. You just need to also
qualify your leads while in your booth. Your “A”
leads are your best leads – immediate needs, have a
budget and authority to buy.
So the smaller portion
of “A” leads are the first ones you fulfill, with
letters and products customized to their requests.
Then, fulfill the “B” leads, which may have a need,
but not immediately and perhaps without an approved
budget. Once those are out the door, then fulfill
your “C” leads … which
may get the more generic
“Thanks for visiting our booth at the XYZ show”
letter anyhow, because that’s how far the
Michael Thimmesch is the Director of Customer
© 2012 by