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The Best Way to Close the Sale After the Big Trade Show

Posted by Barbra Schwartz on Aug 8, 2017 9:00:00 AM
Barbra Schwartz

close the sale trade show

When leaving a trade show, most professionals are focused on one thing and one thing only: Beating a fast path home. But if you’re leaving the show minus the investment of time and money with little to “show” for it, then what was the point of leaving home to begin with?

If you’ve leveraged the value selling guidance we’ve provided thus far, you should arrive home with a virtual box full of qualified leads. Once you're back from the show, you may just want to put your feet up and relax a little. But you can't!

Seize the momentum you’ve built from scheduling qualified appointments before the show and advancing the conversation during your exhibit hall meetings towards opportunity development and, finally, close the sale

This is no time to sleep; get back on your feet and prioritize all the most engaged and sales qualified leads for follow-up! 

Make the Most of Your New Relationship 

Consider where you are in the sales cycle in comparison to other trade show exhibitors. Before you ever got to the show, you had access to valuable data from potential leads. You made appointments to talk to those leads and engaged to qualify them at the show. You’re now several steps ahead of the typical "after-show" activity.

You’ve already wowed them with the results you can deliver. Instead of beginning the conversation, you’re ready to advance it by following up with your qualified leads who are already well into their buyer’s journey.

You promised everyone you met that you would email a copy of their customized value report after the show. In addition to sending a copy of their value report, schedule a follow-up call to continue the dialogue around resolving their business problem(s).

Continue to build the business case you already started at the show. You’ve established a foundation for your ROI report and provided the cost justification to gain budget approval. 

Engaging with Slower Moving Leads 

Some of your appointments may not have gotten as far along in the buyer’s journey as you had hoped. Attendees who didn’t use the tools in your invitation still needed to provide data for an initial assessment or value calculation. Others may have just dropped by your booth, possibly less ready to provide the data requested. 

Go back to your pre-show planning and use your assessment and value calculator tools as part of a new campaign designed as a variation of your trade show invitation. Loop back to the first step in the sales cycle and begin qualifying your leads from there. 

You’ll still be ahead of your competitors because: 

  1. You’ve already been in contact with these leads, and
  2. You still offer a more valuable benefit that sets you on the path to a sale rather than just beyond initial contact. 

Starting the Dialogue with Prospects You Missed

Maybe some of your appointments fell through due to lack of time, or you weren’t able to give time to an interested attendee passing by. You still have enough information to build the beginning of a beautiful opportunity, and there may still be others you were unable to reach, one way or the other before or during the show.  

Those who missed their appointments, but used the tools you sent, already have a defined business problem and an idea of how much the status quo is costing them. You can reach out to them with a call to remind them of what they may be leaving on the table. Then follow-up via email, including a value report, and ask to set up a time to discuss it.

You can do the same with those who completed assessments at the show, but who had to move on to their next session or appointment before you had a chance to begin reviewing the results.

Ideally, you want to have your value selling plan and tools lined up well before the show.  But, even if you didn’t have everything in place before the show, and weren’t able to leverage it while at the show because your sales enablement team wasn’t able to roll out the tools in time, you can start with these steps right here, right now, to generate more qualified leads and drive more opportunities to close. 

For anyone who left a business card or scanned their badge without availing themselves of the value selling tools you had on site (if you had them), craft an invitation to get the ball rolling with another chance to fill out an assessment tool or value calculator. Once you have the results, set up a meeting to review them and start the dialogue around resolving those business problems.

If you can obtain a list of attendees from the trade show, use it to identify prospects with whom to initiate contact. If not, depending on the show, we may be able to help you source available lists or reach likely attendees in other ways. Build another variation of your campaign invitation, allowing the prospect to use your tools and provide you with a platform for further discussions.


 While it’s unlikely you closed any sales on the spot at the show (but if you did, we’d love to hear your success stories), you’ve certainly built momentum and you’re likely light years ahead of your competitors. Your post-show activity, along with the business case, will drive you to sale closure and you’ll soon realize your trade show ROI.

We have come to the end of our series. You had the opportunity to learn about pre-show activity designed to put you ahead of your booth neighbors at the show. We talked about how to wow your appointments and any passersby with your value selling tools, as well as your ability to talk about problems and solutions instead of features and functions.

Finally, you’re ready to continue the conversation post-show much deeper into the sales cycle and the buyer’s journey. You don’t have to shuffle business cards and guess who would be interested in talking to you; you already know!

Have fun; best of success at the show!

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Topics: B2B Selling, ROI Tools