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After an initial meeting, it takes an average of five follow-up calls to make a sale. Yet close to half of all salespeople give up after just one try.[1] Even more shocking, 80 percent of trade show leads get no follow up at all.[2]

With B2B exhibitors spending close to 40 percent of their marketing budgets on trade shows, follow up is no place to slack.[3] In fact, a solid follow-up plan may be one of the most important aspects of your overall trade show strategy.[4] And what better time to give one final push than the holidays? Learn more on trade show follow up and best practices to help you seal the deal as you ring in the new year.

Effective follow up for sales leads

You have few meetings, the phone doesn’t ring and drop-ins are virtually non-existent. It must be the holidays. Use this down time to your benefit and follow up with trade show sales leads:

Pick up the phone

Research shows the best time to follow up is on Wednesdays or Thursdays between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Use those windows to call those you connected with at your last show. Remember to revisit whatever it is you discussed (and how your product or service can help). For instance, “Jim—last time we talked you mentioned you were in the market for a new widget to help cut production time of your XYZ product. ABC’s widget is known for increasing these types of efficiencies. What do you say we get together so we can get the ball rolling in the new year?”[5]

The post-holiday season may be the perfect time to drop off a gift, too, such as a nice calendar for the New Year. “And Jim, while we’re at it, I have a little something for you to show we appreciate you considering us for the job.”

Shoot out an email

Although open rates vary by industry, studies show emails sent on a Tuesday boast the best open rates. What’s more, those who send emails between 8 a.m. and noon are most successful.[6] While prepping for your email follow-up, be sure to craft a recognizable subject line, such as “Here is the info we discussed at ABC Expo,” or “The XYZ product we discussed is now on sale.”

In the body of the email, mention again what you discussed and where, as well as how your company can help relieve any pain points mentioned. And of course, don’t forget a specific call-to-action—for instance, “Let’s meet for coffee next Tuesday to further discuss how ABC Company can help you achieve your goal to increase sales.”[7]

Send a letter

A handwritten letter or note can be great ways to get in front of customers. If it’s appropriate to do so, include a catalog, sell sheet or even a branded promotional product such as a calendar photo frame or chocolate business card. For your best prospects, consider an accompaniment of a popcorn tin or cookie basket to show your appreciation this holiday season.

Remember, the holidays are the perfect time to make sales follow-up connections. Pick up the phone, send an email or mail a holiday greeting to spread some cheer and drum up some business, while you’re at it.  Plan now for a productive holiday season!


[1] “70% of People Make Purchasing.” 70% of People Make Purchasing. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2016. <https://www.slideshare.net/JakeAtwood1/20-shocking-sales-stats/19-70_of_people_makepurchasing_decisions>.

[2] “Best Practices for Following Up After the Trade Show.” Apple Rock Trade Show Displays. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2016. <https://www.applerock.com/blog/post/best-practices-following-after-trade-show#>.

[3] Thimmesch, Mike. “TSNN Trade Show News.” 16 Powerful Stats on the Value of Trade Shows. N.p., 17 Aug. 2013. Web. 04 June 2016. <https://www.tsnn.com/news-blogs/16-powerful-stats-value-trade-shows>.

[4] “Best Practices for Following Up After the Trade Show.” Apple Rock Trade Show Displays. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2016. <https://www.applerock.com/blog/post/best-practices-following-after-trade-show#>.

[5] “3 Sales Follow-Up Strategies to Replace “Touching Base”” 3 Sales Follow-Up Strategies to Replace “Touching Base” N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2016. <https://www.jillkonrath.com/sales-blog/bid/101434/3-Sales-Follow-Up-Strategies-to-Replace-Touching-Base>.

[6] “B2B Email Marketing Best-Practices and Trends.” MarketingProfs. N.p., 25 July 2012. Web. 04 June 2016. <https://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2012/8524/b2b-email-marketing-best-practices-and-trends>.

[7] “Best Practices for Following Up After the Trade Show.” Apple Rock Trade Show Displays. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2016. <https://www.applerock.com/blog/post/best-practices-following-after-trade-show#>.

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