Events and exhibitions are a cornerstone of many brands’ B2B lead generation strategies.

There’s nothing quite like proper face-to-face conversations to start a relationship, set the foundations of trust and begin exploring whether a vendor can solve a buyer’s pain points.

Yet, you often aren’t going to close a sale on a first meeting. Well, it’s very unlikely, as Marketing Donut writes only 2% of sales occur at a first meeting.

The meeting at the event should set a foundation for follow up and so that your new contact is happy to hear from you again. So how can you follow up after an event in the right way?

Here are some tips for how to think about it.

Timing

According to events company Kapow, your follow-up process shouldn’t take more than a week. Getting in touch with your clients 2-3 days after your event is ideal, but any contact within a week is great.

Messaging

The messaging with which you follow-up can vary per new contact. People buy from people, not companies. If you found yourself chatting with someone about their favorite football team, food, or news platform, for example, then send them something related to those interests right after the event can help. This way, you’ve sent them something relevant to their interests and which they can link to the great conversation you had a few days ago.

If you specifically discussed some particular technical issues, pain points, case studies then follow up with content that addresses those to make sure you’re giving value and helping their decision process.  

Multiple touch points

Consider your conversation at the event as one touch point, your follow up as another, and all of them as one of the multiple touch points along a prospects “buying journey”. The use of multiple touch points is the most effective way to get through to someone. If you fail the first time, try and try again.

A lot of research supports the idea you need to engage multiple times with your contacts – Dr. Jeffrey Lant with his ‘Rule of Seven’, for example, or Salesforce’s notion that a sale can take between six and eight attempts.

You’ll want to understand early on where the person is along their buying journey and tailor your engagement to suit to make it relevant them. The ones who do buy have already looked into the subject matter and know what they're looking for. If they meet someone who ticks all the right boxes and they get on well, then the sale may happen more quickly.

Be persistent

After an event people return to their normal schedules, which are often busy, so the first follow up call or email can be missed. Well, according to Hubspot, it can take an average of 18 calls to actually connect with a buyer, but most sales people give up after 1.3 attempts to call someone. 1.3!

Be persistent and consistent and make sure you pick up that great conversation where you left off and don’t just let it go to waste.

The competition

Just remember that if you meet a prospect at a trade show, it’s likely they went there to research solutions and “who offers what”. They’ve probably talked to competitors of yours too. You can’t control what your competitors get up to, but you can control your follow up. What you don’t want to do is blend into the background and be lost amongst the communication from your competitors. My colleague Harry Smith has written his 5 tips for standing out when following up leads. Just remember to be a real human, stand out and be persistent.

The rest is down to you

These tips should help you approach your event-lead follow up in the right way.  Now just got to make sure what you offer and your charm are up to scratch!