4imprint, LLC

According to a recent 4imprint® survey, 79 percent of exhibitors attend trade shows to build relationships and 76 percent participate to generate leads. And while making an initial contact is essential for a business relationship, following up after a trade show is even more critical. And something that 80 percent of exhibitors don’t do.

When following up with a lead, it’s important to be timely and friendly and to customize each message, reflecting each client’s needs, interests and pain points. Knowing those details will help you improve customer connections and build your client base.

Read on to learn about some of the most common trade show data collection methods, pro tips when using each method and how trade show swag can help you gather critical information to help you close more sales.

1. Instant electronic collection


Many trade shows use scannable badges, making it possible to collect customer data with a smartphone or other proprietary device.

Pro tip: While this method is quick and easy, it can sometimes lead to collecting incomplete data. For example, you might have a name and email address for each customer, but not be able to note anywhere what products or services the person is interested in, making it difficult to personalize your follow-up call or email. Make sure to have another way to capture information—like gathering business cards—to fill in the gaps.

2. Laptops and tablets


Using laptops or tablets to collect client data can be an excellent way to ensure the most critical client information makes it back to the office. And because you can customize the form or software used to capture data, it makes it easier to set up forms that ask about customer pain points and the best way to connect with them at a later time.

Pro tip:  Test internet connectivity before the show, have a Plan B should you lose connection and put charging cables on your supply checklist. Like any piece of technology, computers and tablets can be prone to technical difficulties and the need to recharge.

Offer prospects a clever trade show giveaway that entices them to stop at your booth. For example, give them a bandage dispenser (#6054-S-N) in exchange for discussing their pain points.

3. The classic notebook


Pro tip: Keep a branded ruled notebook (#124985-118-RL) on hand as a backup plan for your electronic data collection.

A notebook will never need to be upgraded during a convention or have to be periodically charged. As a bonus, give a pen (#150512) and a similar notebook as trade show giveaways to every contact who fills in their information.

4. Bowl of business cards


Collecting business cards results in necessary data entry, but they also give you a reason to make an exchange with attendees. Ask them to drop their card for trade show swag, like a combination webcam cover and screen cleaner (#149823). Or use the cards for a high-end trade show giveaway drawing for a coveted prize like a jacket (#150458).

Pro tip: Use the back of business cards to note important client facts.

Better information makes better connections


The more information you know about your customers, the more personalized you can be when following up with phone calls and emails. By choosing your ideal data collection method and memorable trade show swag, you’ll be able to collect every name, email address and pain point needed to build your client base.

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