Don’t forget to say thank you!

Attending a trade show can be overwhelming—meeting so many people in a few short, over-packed days, but a follow up plan is a great way to make yourself stand out and remind folks of who you and your company are.

Prompt follow up is key. Don’t let a month go by without reaching out—at least informally—to people you met at the trade show, even if it just to say “It was great meeting you; thanks for talking with me at the lunch after the presentation.”

EXHIBITOR conducted its 2010 Sales Lead Survey and learned less than 70 percent of trade show exhibitors have any formalized plan or process in place for how those leads are followed up after the show, according to the research, which was sponsored by Lynch Exhibits Inc. and In4med Corp.

Since you will be meeting so many people in a brief window of time, employ a simple trade show strategy such as jotting a few notes or key words on the back of the business card of the person you just met to nudge your memory of the conversation after you return to your office. Jot down key points of your conversation or something that really stood out about their booth, etc…it should be something you can refer back to later when you follow up.

When following up, thank people for taking the time to chat with you and introducing you to their company.

Don’t just send your company spiel out to everyone you met in a general en masse type of email. Start with a brief, personal email about how you met, thanking them for their time and why you want to reach out to them. Ask to set up a time to chat now that everyone is back in the office.

Ask to learn more about their company now that you are home because you were intrigued by something at their booth. People are always flattered when you point out why they stood out among the masses. Everyone likes to be recognized for their efforts and a lot of planning goes into the trade show booths.

If you have common interests or are on the same trade show “circuit” make a plan to meet up again in the future. Offer to sit with them at the next luncheon or have a drink at the next networking event.

Following up, even if it only to say thank you for taking the time to meet me, can set you apart from the competition and leave a lasting impression on a potential client.

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