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the trainerJust to make sure we are on thesame page, if a potentialcustomer claimed to beinterested in your product or service,would you be keen to follow up onthat conversation?When I receive an inquiry, I would as a matter of principle respondstraight away, even if it is to say I willget back to them as soon as I returnto my office.Either way, the issue of notresponding straight away wouldnever occur to me because I feel itwould be bad business practice andfurthermore quite rude. I hope mostof you also agree.So what exactly happens toexhibitors when they receive similarleads on the stand? What is it aboutthe exhibition arena that appears tooverride common sense and goodbusiness practice? In my role as sales trainer I am privyto results from mystery shoppingexercises. Mystery shoppers areMisleadingopportunitiesbriefed to be prospects, with in-depthknowledge and the budget topurchase from exhibitors.They can judge the efficacy of thewelcome received, how long beforethey are acknowledged and so forth.At the end of an event, they compile areport outlining the stands they visited,the enquiries made and the overallimpression of the interaction. When Isee the huge amount of data, a clearpattern emerges.Alarmingly, exhibitors can begenerally slow to acknowledge visitors.Where there is engagement, it istypically un-qualified and started by thevisitor. In a high number of instances,the visitor is allowed to leave a standwithout having their details captured.More worryingly, where details areretained, there is a terribly low level offollow up.On average less than 30 per cent ofleads are followed up post-event.Industry research also states that 75per cent of exhibitors admit to failingto follow up leads. We have seenthese results replicated again andagain across both trade and consumer events.If your sales people were refusing toattend 75 per cent of theirappointments, or only answering 25per cent of inbound calls, you wouldsurely fire them. That behaviour wouldbe grounds for dismissal on the basisof gross misconduct upheld by anyindustrial tribunal. Why then is it thatmany exhibitors appear to be contentto allow this travesty to occur? Maybe the MDs or sales directorsneed a clearer understanding of whathappens on the show floor. Maybe themarketing manager has no wayof establishing whathappens to the leads post event.The one clear fact is thatleads are being wastedand boosting your returnon investment by 75 percent does not have to costyou a single penny. Justthink on that fora moment.Simon is theMD ofAnswersGroup andcan becontacted via thedeputyeditor.This month Simon Naudilooks at the alarming lack ofpost-event follow-upexecuted by exhibitors.