You’ve invested time and resources into a trade show and your team did a great job making connections at the event. Now that the event is over, how can you maintain the retail recruitment momentum?
In the end, it all comes down to one thing in your process: follow up.
City staff often put off following up with connections they met at a trade show because it’s time consuming or they get distracted by other tasks. But consider this: each retailer or developer you met with during the trade show likely met dozens of other communities in a short period of time. By sending a quick thank you with your contact information, you’ll stand out from the crowd.
Even if the retailer said they aren’t interested, Buxton has seen many instances where a “no” evolved to a “maybe” and eventually to a deal closing “yes” thanks to pleasantly persistent follow up.
So what are some practical ways that you can follow up to maintain the retail recruitment momentum during a long sales cycle?
Here are a few ideas.
At the Trade Show
- The foundation for great follow up begins at the event. Always leave your meetings with the next step planned (e.g. scheduled site visit, conference call, touch base with new development updates, etc.)
- Don’t leave any meeting or introduction without the contact’s business card, or the contact information for the appropriate decision maker for your region
After the Trade Show
- Send out a thank you email within five business days. Drip campaigns can be very effective when you are managing multiple retail recruitment prospects.
- Consider sending one of your community’s post cards following the show as an additional thank you
- Keep organized notes from meetings, and be cognizant of the retailers’ feedback in your ongoing communications
- Leverage online professional profiles, such as LinkedIn, to continue networking and marketing
- Consider setting up brand monitoring alerts for retailers, using tools such as Google Alerts, to continue to stay up to speed with their brand and growth
- When you feel discouraged, remind yourself that relationship marketing is all about moving the interested prospect to the seriously interested lead, and then to the final location decision
- Occasionally share your community’s updates on business expansion, market growth, etc., via social media marketing with your retail prospects
- Ally with commercial real estate firms, site developers, and property owners to develop a team with private sector involvement to stay abreast of retail market trends and gain a better understanding of your community’s retail recruitment advantages and disadvantages
- Be patient, but persistent
By being intentional about your follow-up efforts, you can maximize the ROI of each trade show you attend and maintain your retail recruitment momentum.
Watch our webinar, “Marketing 101: How to Attract New Business to Your City,” to learn more about marketing your city to prospective retailers.