4imprint, LLC

| Updated: November 15, 2022

According to a recent 4imprint® survey, 79 percent of exhibitors attend trade shows to build relationships and 76 percent participate to generate leads. And while making an initial contact is essential for a relationship, following up is even more critical. Yet 80 percent of exhibitors don’t reconnect after a trade show.

Follow-ups should be timely, friendly and customized, reflecting each client’s needs, interests and pain points. Knowing those details will help you improve connections and build your client base.

Read on to learn about how to make the most of common data collection methods and how trade show swag can help you gather critical information to help you close more sales.

Instant electronic collection

Many trade shows use badges that can be scanned, making it possible to collect customer data with a smartphone or other proprietary device.

Pro tip: While this method is quick and easy, it can sometimes lead to collecting incomplete data. For example, you might have a name and email address for each customer, but not be able to note anywhere what products or services the person is interested in, making it difficult to personalize your follow-up call or email. Make sure to have another way to capture information—like gathering business cards—to fill in the gaps.

Laptops and tablets

Using laptops or tablets to collect client data can be an excellent way to ensure the most critical client information makes it back to the office. And because you can customize the form or software used to capture data, it makes it easier to ask about customer pain points and the best way to connect with them.

Pro tip:  Test internet connectivity before the show, have a Plan B should you lose the connection and put charging cables on your supply checklist. Like any piece of technology, computers and tablets can be prone to technical difficulties.

Offer prospects a clever trade show giveaway that entices them to stop at your booth. For example, give them a Bandage Dispenser in exchange for discussing their pain points.

Classic notebooks

A notebook avoids the potential for technological failure—it will never need to be upgraded or charged. Use the low-tech approach when deciding your trade show giveaway. Consider giving a pen and a similar notebook to every contact who fills in their information.

Pro tip: Make the best of both worlds and use a laptop or tablet while keeping a branded ruled notebook on hand as a backup plan during the trade show.

Bowl of business cards

Collecting business cards is an easy way to collect data, but they are also a great way to get interactions with potential customers. Ask them to drop their card in exchange a combination webcam cover and screen cleaner. Or use the cards as entries in a high-end trade show giveaway drawing for a coveted prize like a jacket.

Pro tip: Use the back of business cards to note important client facts.


Better information makes better connections

The more information you know about your customers, the more personalized you can be when following up with phone calls and emails. By choosing your ideal data collection method and memorable trade show swag, you’ll be able to collect every name, email address and pain point needed to build your client base.