So you have gathered up your leads, packed up your stand and materials and are heading back to the office; what to do now?
The most beneficial thing to do as a first step is to brief your team for a final time. While the exhibition is still fresh to your delegates it is important to gather everyone's thoughts and analyse what worked and what didn't work on the day. This is key to the next show you take on and gives you more of an understanding of where you can improve for the next time and what worked well and should be brought over to the next show.
You now need to measure your success against the targets you set your team prior to the show, the best way of doing this is by following up the potential leads once you are back in the office. This can be done through a follow up call/email, organising an appointment to meet up and discuss further, sending an information pack in the post with a simple 'thank you' letter; which action you decide to take should be decided on the classification of the lead contact, how important is this person to your business? You may not have reached out to all the prospects you wanted to on the day, there is however a way around this where you can gather even further leads from the show. Most organisers have a visitor list with contact details and more often than not are happy to hand this over free of charge, a simple email of 'Sorry we missed you..' can make all the different to your overall success.
So did you manage to meet and possibly exceed all targets set? If not, what of the above points was the cause of not achieving this and what can be put in place to ensure you do achieve this goal for the next show? Finalising your findings after the follow up process is the best way of measuring your success and should not be rushed, this is as important as the planning and conduct of the show and is what determines whether you are the company who reaps in the success of the show or if potential sales are missed due to lack of time spent on this stage of the process.
Measuring your success is significant to you for many reasons; to justify your actions by showing a return in investment; it helps choose the right event for you as not every show will be as successful dependent on the visitors attending the show; it can evaluate what you are doing before, during and after the show and where you are going right/wrong to help improve for next time; it can also summarise personal goals within your team and help create new goals and targets for the next show based on these achievements and falls. When making all of the above measurements you need to take into account other factors which may have affected your success on the day, perhaps a competitor rained over your parade that day or the amount of visitors were significantly less than a previous show? These questions need to be asked before making a decision on whether to hold a stand at that same show again.
No single method of measurement will work for everyone, every exhibition and stand is unique. Remember this is a continuous process, capture your learning and improve on your planning for the next show.