It’s all over; you can take your foot off the gas. You have survived the Expo! Wrong. This is where the magic really starts to happen. Where relationships are built, collaborations are formed and connections are strengthened.

Generally it is the lack of post preparation for what comes next, that is a business’ most common mistake. How often have you attended an event and then just received a bland email or worse #buymystuff? It is scary how many businesses don’t have a follow up plan for after events and expos. Let’s start to build your credibility by being more proactive and professional.

There are a number of ways you can follow up – letter, email, phone, and social media. Break down your new connections into important, connections and good to know. Then you know which tool to use to follow up i.e. important should always be a follow up call.

You are going to have to break through the noise. What you think is an important email or phone call won’t be deemed the same by the person you are trying to contact. Don’t be a nuisance. You have to make it interesting, genuine and follow up within a timely manner.

1. Invite Them to Something

We humans are fickle, we love an invitation. In your conversation with the other person/company what did you talk about? Is there something of interest you would like to invite them along to or thought they may be interested in i.e. networking event, expo, a site visit to your office or just for a coffee (make sure it is good coffee)

You might be running your own event. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to sell them a space immediately, make them see why they need to be there. Educate them on what they will be missing out on. Leave the sales message for the second to third follow up.

2. Follow Up Immediately After The Event

Hopefully when you receive the business card at the Expo or networking event you make a note of something important you discussed on the back of it? If you did not take this approach, then make sure you do for your next event.

Follow up within 2-3 days. If it is an important contact for you, call them first, then follow up with an email. If it is a general follow up you can email them, BUT make it personal (not generic) – NOT Dear Sir…… Make sure the headline is important – NOT – Cardiff Bierkeller Expo Thursday 14th September

Remember that attendees will have made a number of new contacts and dropped their business cards off at a number of stands on the day. Remind them of who you are and what you do.

Try to solve an issue or a problem for them. Don’t go in for the sales #buymystuff straightaway. You could point them to a recent article on your website or something about your industry that is in the news and is worth sharing.

If you don’t hear from them within 1-2 weeks, follow up with another (very polite!) email saying ‘Just wondering if you saw this email I sent two weeks ago?’ Or follow up with a phone call.

Following up quickly after an event, expo or trade show is crucial. It can be the difference between making the sale or losing it!

DON’T SPAM THEM – it is illegal to just add someones details to your mailing list. You do have to get consent from them first. You can do this by adding a line in your email stating that your send out regular advice and tips and you have added them to your list unless they ask not to be added.

3. Connect on Social Media

Reach out to them on Social Media. Send a LinkedIn request with a personal note of how you met and why you want to connect.

Look for their Business Page on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Review their account, is there anything you can repost or retweet. Add a personal note i.e. I met this company at X and I was inspired to show you what amazing things they are doing.

If you can’t find them online, this is a great way to reach out to them. You can email them ask for their connections.

Be authentic in your approach, don’t spam or #buymystuff. Start to build a relationship. It will serve you well.

Let us know what you think of these tips and please share with your colleagues and on social media.