The Show’s Over… It’s Time to Follow Up

The 2018 ATA Trade Show has come to a close. Now what?
Photo Credit: Shannon Rikard

Author: Jackie Holbrook

Your feet are feeling better and your voice is finally back. Congratulations! You survived three action-packed days on the floor at the 2018 ATA Trade Show in Indianapolis.

The Show gave you countless opportunities to test new products, catch up with colleagues, and snap selfies with industry celebrities. But the main purpose of this member-driven event is to promote commerce within the archery and bowhunting industry.

Whether you attended the Show as a retailer or exhibitor, it’s time to capitalize on the many connections you made. What you do the next few weeks can boost profits throughout the year and help your business succeed.

Follow Up on Leads

Start by organizing your leads and connections. From business cards to social media followers, you probably scored leads several ways at the Show. Study those leads, compile a list of contact information, and start making contact now!

Divide your leads into hot and cold categories, and contact the hottest leads first. In his article, “10 Tips for a Successful Trade Show Follow-Up Campaign,” Howard J. Sewell encourages his readers to personalize their follow-up contacts. For the hottest leads, consider making a phone call, but emails are usually the most effective follow-up.

For a personal touch, Sewell suggests exhibitors use photos from the Show. “Including a photo of your booth, crowded with eager, interested prospects, can help remind attendees who your company is amongst the hundreds they talked to at the show,” Sewell writes. “Just keep the photo relatively small so it doesn’t force more valuable selling copy down the page.”

“The Sales Pro Blog” offers examples of follow-up emails, with tips on making them personal and productive. It even offers two email samples for hot vs. cold leads. Your email should also include a call-to-action item to prompt a response and encourage sales.

From business cards to social media followers, you probably scored leads several ways at the Show. Study those leads, compile a list of contact information, and start making contacts now. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

Make a Plan

Leads won’t generate sales unless you take action. “Research has long suggested that the majority of leads generated by trade shows never receive follow-up by company representatives,” Howell writes, citing a 2010 study that found less than 70 percent of exhibitors have a formal plan or process for following up on leads after the show.

The most effective way to ensure it’s done is to assign someone to follow up on every lead you generated at the Show. By designating a contact person, you specify who’s responsible for the follow-up. Treat this follow-up like a project by assigning tasks and deadlines. In his article “6 key elements for better Task Management,” the founder of the project-management software Alexsys writes, “Projects begin with a plan, but without a sound approach to managing the tasks needed to complete the project, success is unlikely.” That founder, Rich Bianchi, says follow-ups can only be as successful as the plan you put in place.

Launching a new product at the ATA Trade Show can create a lot of hype around products for the consumers. Social media helps in this regard so be sure to keep the public updated throughout the Show as to drive revenue to stores. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

Place Orders Now

Many companies choose the ATA Trade Show to launch new products. Social media hype around these launches makes customers eager to get their hands on those products as soon as possible.

“A trade-show environment allows retailers to see product in person, establish what’s trending in their marketplace, and get comprehensive product information in one contained location,” said Camille Candella, vice president of marketing for Emerald Expositions, in the Forbes article “Why Trade Shows Deliver Value to Retailers.”

And if you check out #ATA2018 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, you’ll see hundreds of photos from the Show hyping new bows, innovative gear and the latest bowhunting essentials. If you place an order immediately after the Show, you can get this inventory into your shop before your competitors know it exists. By capitalizing on the ATA Show’s hype in the weeks that follow, you can bring customers through your door and prompt them to buy. And by speaking with exhibitors at the Show, you’ll compile knowledge about your new inventory to share with your customers.

Use ATA Resources to Find Information

If you lost a business card or forgot to get someone’s contact information, don’t worry. The ATA has you covered with an up-to-date ATA membership directory. It’s available exclusively to ATA members. To get this directory electronically, log into the members-only section of and select “2018 ATA Show Guide and Membership Directory.” ATA’s Floor Map and Mobile App also help identify exhibitors.

The ATA is here to help. If retailers have any questions, they can seek out the ATA via email, social media or by phone. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

Think Ahead

The annual ATA Trade Show offers valuable business opportunities for retailers and manufacturers. Once you finish your follow-up work, consider other ATA programs that work to boost your bottom line.

The ATA, after all, is here to help you year-round, not just at the Show and during the weeks that follow.

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