5 Tips for Keeping in Touch After The Trade Show Ends
You attend industry conferences, seminars, and trade shows, and meet many new people who have lots of insight and influence. However, what’s really important is how you keep up with them afterward so all those connections and relationships you formed don’t go undeveloped. There are lots of ways to keep up with these people without coming across like you’re making a sales pitch.
Here are five tips for keeping in touch:
1. Add Them to Your Email List
The key to successful email newsletters, updates, and announcements is to personalize them and avoid sounding like you’re trying to make a sale.
Send out emails after an event in a timely manner, and include information that’s useful by providing insights, updates,follow-ups, and additional insider information about the conference or trade show.
Email these contacts regularly, but not so often that you become a nuisance. Once or twice per month is ideal for emailing such contacts. Always include important and relevant industry information, along with your personal analysis and insight.
Avoid sales pitches and pushing your own products or services. If you must write about your company directly, do so in an informative way that speaks to the industry as a whole.
2. Blog About the Event
Blogs are another place to get personal without seeming pushy. Write blogs about the conference or trade show, offering the things you would in an email: analysis, insider information, and answers to questions raised during the event. Not only will this serve as good communication between you and the contacts you’ve made, it will also provide other readers who couldn’t attend with valuable information and insight.
If your new contacts don’t read your blog, send them an email inviting them to do so, and post the link to the blog on your social media pages. Always read and respond to your comments so you’ll see if one of your new connections has additional questions you could answer or further insight into the matter. Never leave comments on your blog hanging without a response. At least thank them for reading and taking the time to comment.
Invite your new connections to write a guest blog post for you. Most professionals enjoy a chance to share their knowledge and interests with others, and many will in turn invite you to write a guest post for their blog. This gives both of you twice the exposure that either of you would have without the other.
3. Nurture Relationships
The connections you make during a conference or trade show might not immediately become customers, but this is no reason to ignore them. Sometimes people need time to think, or more information about your products or services. Other times, they might be waiting on funding or a situation to resolve before purchasing.
Continue to offer them support, and focus on building the relationship. In time, they’ll use your services if they need to do so. But don’t jeopardize a good contact or potential future client just because they aren’t ready to buy from you immediately.
Some business people think this is a waste of limited and valuable time, but successful ones see this as an investment. When it does come time for your new contact to use services or products like yours, your business will be the first ones they think of. If they never need your products or services, at least they know exactly whom to send others to when they meet someone looking for what it is you have to offer.
4. Connect via Social Media
It’s a good idea to connect via social media as soon as the conference or trade show ends. This assures they’ll still remember who you are when you send the information. People are busy, and a month from now they may have trouble placing your name or face within context of the event. Social media is also a non-threatening way of passing along information without coming across like a used car salesman.
LinkedIn is ideal for business connections, but find out if this is the social media outlet they prefer. Some people frequent Twitter, Facebook, or Pintrest instead. Connect with people where they normally “hang out. Get in the habit of liking, sharing, and retweeting their posts. People are more likely to like and share your blogs, news, and articles if you’ve done so for them.
Social media only benefits you to the extent you put time and effort into keeping those accounts active and relevant. When you haven’t written or posted anything, share and comment on what others have done. Find newsworthy articles and share these pages on all your social media accounts. Spend a few minutes per day contributing to the social media community. With people so busy, it’s hard to keep up with all the news and happenings, and people appreciate those who help keep them in the loop.
5. Don’t Ignore Contacts Who Aren’t Customers
Sometimes, you’ll meet people who are great connections, but have no interest or need in becoming a customer. Don’t neglect these relationships, because they can benefit you in many other ways.
That person might be in a position to send lots of other new customers your way. Perhaps she would be an excellent partner on a project that comes up in a year or so. Maybe she’s the ideal person to collaborate with on writing an article or starting a new venture. If nothing else, you’ll have a peer in the industry with whom you can share information and bounce ideas off.
It is expensive to attend seminars, conferences, and trade shows, and in today’s economy, you can’t afford to let any opportunities pass you by. While investing in trade shows and events are great ways to find new customers and expand your business, they’re also gold mines for meeting industry insiders, experts, and friends. Make every new contact count, and find ways to grow a mutually beneficial relationship.
It’s difficult to find the right people at the right time. People move on, to different responsibilities and different jobs and even different industries – hang on to the ones in your network because tomorrow they might be exactly what you need!