So, you spent last week in San Diego attending the IPC Apex Expo. You made a lot of good contacts. You talked to a lot of people. You spent time with potential customers trying to convince them to buy your goods and services. You spent time with the right vendors checking out their products and goods trying to figure out what equipment and services would be good for your company.
If you’re a sales manager type you invested your time looking for great sales people, both direct and reps. You also spent quality time wining and dining customers and potential customers
If you’re an operation type, you checked out the new equipment to see how you can best equip your shop for the future.
You attended technical presentations and met as many smart people as possible trying to absorb as much information as possible. You were a virtual sponge trying to absorb as much information, knowledge, and technology as you could.
You also tried to pick up as much industry G2 as you could. Trying to get the lay of the land in your industry as well as your customer’s industries.
You snooped around trying to find out what your competitors are up to…and to discover where all the business is going
If you did things right, if you took full advantage of your time at the show, you worked practically twenty four/seven doing everything you could to improve your business position in the marketplace.
And finally, you tried to have a good time despite the Covid cloud hanging over your head.
Now what? What do you do now with everything you learned at the show? How do you handle all of the people you met at the show? What do you do to make sure that you get the best return on your investment that you possibly can?
Here’s what you do. It’s time to get into proper followup mode. Without following up on everything you did last week you will have wasted your time, and your money as well.
Here are five things you can do when you get back to that home office to make sure you squeeze as much value from the time you spent in San Diego as you can.
- Review and rate the show: while things are still fresh in your mind, review your notes and then put down your impression of the show. Was it worth it and why? Would you recommend it to your associates? Are you going back to the show next year?
- Make a list of what went right and what could have been improved. This is especially important if you were an exhibitor. Did you have everything you needed with you? Make a list of what you forgot and need to bring next time. Make a list of what was not necessary to bring. What ideas, what things, what giveaways did you see other people doing in their booths that you might want to do in your booth next year?
- Contact the people you met immediately. Actually, I would urge you to do this before you even get home. Follow up and complete the loop that you started when you first talked to them. Remind them of what you talked about and let them know what the next step will be. If you promised to do something for them, then do it right away. The important thing is to not let things go even a day.
- Learn from what you learned: review everything you saw at the show, everyone you met with, the white paper presentations you sat in on and learn from it all. If you have done a good job paying attention you will come away from this Expo a lot better informed that when you went in.
- Track the return on investment. Once again this is very important if you were an exhibitor, list in detail how much you spent on the show including travel and living expenses while you and your team were there. Then make a list of the customers and prospects you met with, and start tracking any business from those customers. This is the purest way to track your return on investment. Of course, there are other reasons to be exhibiting, but the most important reason of all is to meet new potential customers and grow your business with your current customers. If that does not happen you have a problem and should re-evaluate your decision to exhibit at this show. But before you make that decision make certain that you did everything possible to make this show a success for you and your company. Usually when I hear from someone that the show did not work for them, I consider the source and come to realize that they did not work the show effectively and got the results they deserved!
And one more in the spirit of under promising and over delivering.
- Start planning for next year. Immediately after the show is the right time to set things up for the following year. From what you learned this year, what are you going to do next year to have an even better IPC Apex Expo 2023 show experience? It’s only common sense.