I’m not going to lie… two days of networking, speaking, selling and catching up with old friends at this year’s Rec Expo has left me absolutely cream-crackered. And I know my fellow Greenies will say the same!
But we’ve invested. We pitched up at the NEC for the Rec Expo on Wednesday, worked our socks off and have a bunch of smoking hot leads to follow up on. We made a great impression on the people we spoke to with our enthusiasm for what we do (it’s possible I’m biased), but how do we now get those leads converted to ensure we see a return on our investment?
Maximise your event
We picked an awesome spot – a corner in between two of the seminar spaces and as near as we could get to a coffee stop. I also managed to get my hands on a seminar slot too on day one. These two things combined meant lots of exposure – the fact our stand is bright green also meant we were kind of hard to miss!
I knew day two might be a little quieter so I had booked some appointments in with people I knew would be attending the show; maximising my time there. Little did I know that interest in our stand would be just as hot on day two as it was on day one! Apologies to Mark and Amanda for abandoning them on the stand most of the day while I sat and drank copious amounts of coffee – whoops.
Post-Event follow up
- Prior to the event, I knew what I was presenting, my slides were ready, and I knew what we’d be promoting on the stand. So, we prepared an email ready to be sent on day one after the event as soon as we’d collated our data. That email will go out later today thanking people for giving us their time and explaining that we hope they get value from what we said. Links to resources we may have mentioned, and a general invitation for them to get in touch with us.
- LinkedIn – here we come! We’ll be sending connection requests to these people too, and while we’re noseying at their profiles, engaging with any relevant posts they may have shared form the event.
- For those we had more in-depth conversations with, we’ll pop something useful in the post for them (although it’s a secret, so I‘m not going to share here what that might be!).
- We’ll call anyone we had meaningful conversations with next week if we haven’t already touched base with them verbally.
- We’ll make sure we’re following them on Twitter and Facebook too!
- In a couple of weeks, we’ll drop them a line to invite them to keep up to date with us via our weekly news roundup – that way they can stay in touch with us until a time they need our services
- It’s busy when you’ve had two days out at an event, and some emails will end up filed, flagged or marked ‘unread’ so that the recipient can come back to them later. So, we’ll drop another email to anyone who hasn’t yet accessed the slides and remind them that time is running out to view them.
After that, it’s a bit of a rinse and repeat! Our internal list goes on… but I’m not going to share every step of our process. We only share that with our clients (was that almost a cheeky plug for our services?).
Most valuable part of an event? The debrief
The debrief is not the conversation you have on the stand when you’re packing up! It’s a few days later after you’ve started to get through your follow up activities and started to see a response. This is how you decide for definite that you are going to attend the event in the future – what changes you need to make to the stand and/or your event budget. What made things tricky, and what was a breeze? What else was at that show that gave you inspiration? How did the visitors behave? Did your stand get the attention you wanted? Did you have enough manpower on the stand? Or did you have too many bodies?
The answers to all these questions and the other points that will come up in your debrief conversation are highly valuable. Document them, and make sure you look at them again when you come to plan your next event.
Finally, there is no point investing and attending an event and expecting an immediate return. We need to be realistic about the return on investment. The hot leads we gained may pay off in the next few weeks – but it is more likely that it will take six months or more. Some of those leads may come and see us at the show again next year (if we decide to go ahead and rebook following our own debrief) and it might be after that they decide they are ready to commit.
So, that’s it! I’m going to put on some comfy shoes (my feet are still killing me) and race into the office now, unpack the car from all the show gear from our stand (we were too lazy to unpack it last night), and then get started on nurturing those leads!