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20 SMT007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2023 Feature Article by Barry Matties I-CONNECT007 e show is over and it's time to count the leads. We all know that a tall stack of trade show leads can feel like a sugar high. For many, that tall stack is proof that your trade show investment was well worth it, and if leads are the measure, then you'll aim to collect as many as possible. However, the true ROI measure is new business, so more important than the number of leads is identify- ing the quality of leads in the stack. Of course, your leads will need to be sorted, preferably into different groups ranging from "ready to sign a deal" to "will never sign a deal," or from hot to not. Once sorted, they can bring your initial focus to the low hanging fruit. It's the other groups that will require your team to be a bit more strategic. You can expect your competitors to be chasing the same leads. Aer all, the prospect visited the show to look at all their options, so a smart marketing approach as a follow-up will give you an advantage. Your imme- diate action should be to contact your prospects with a simple thank-you note expressing your appreciation for taking the time to visit your booth and meet with your team. While this is a good first step, you should have a specific follow-up pro- cess beyond the thank-you note. When you sort your leads from hot to not, also consider where each pros- pect fits into your sales process or funnel. It's important to note if they are a current or past customer; if they aren't or haven't been a customer, sort by whether they are a current prospect in your sales process or a completely new contact. Your fol- low-up strategy will vary depending on the prospect type. Regardless, fol- low-ups should be personalized; be sure to avoid generic form letters or mass emails. Let each prospect know that you appreciate the time that they spent with you and your team. Here are some additional sugges- tions based on the type of prospect you've identified: Current customer: If they are a current customer, you have a clear advantage over your competitors because a customer should have a good working relationship with your company. In your follow-up, you want to make sure they know and feel like you have really listened to their needs. It's too easy to make assumptions and miss this part. Past customer: If they are a past cus- tomer, determining why they stopped doing business with you is impor tant. Making the Most of Trade Show Leads

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