Is Your Company Wasting Trade Show Leads?

Is Your Company Wasting Trade Show Leads?

The Multifamily industry is ripe with networking and sales opportunities, with a trade show being held every week across the country it seems. If you’re a seasoned veteran of the industry, you know very well the amount of prep work that goes into even a local show. You must ensure you have printed brochures, get handouts and giveaways ready, make sure you order carpet, electricity, furniture, and more.

In most cases, each show is worth the investment of time and money if you follow up with the leads you received, even if it does take you a month or more to start seeing revenue come in from each one.

Giving Your Competitors an Unnecessary Advantage

But following up is easier said than done, apparently. One source states that a staggering 80 percent of trade show exhibitors don’t follow up on their show leads. If you’re one of the exhibitors who didn’t follow up on trade show leads, then you’re giving your competitors an unnecessary advantage and completely wasting those leads!

From the same source, an experiment was done at a trade show where a person handed out fake business cards to see how many exhibitors would follow up when an interest was shown. 85% of exhibitors never followed up, and some of the 15% who did waited over 50 days to do so!

Take a moment to consider whether your competitors at the same show took the time to follow up, then translate that into the cost to your revenue.



Some sources state as high as 87% of trade show leads are never effectively followed-up!

Not only did you possibly lose business to your competitors, but the information on each business card is potentially incorrect by the time you get around to calling or emailing them. Per our own research, in 30 days alone there are thousands of property managers who have moved from one place to another across the country, let alone 50 days.

What’s more, a surprisingly comparable number of properties change Area Supervisors in the same amount of time. It’s just a fact that there is a “revolving door” of turnover in this industry.

Start Planning for a Trade Show Early

Another source claims that a stunning 70 percent of business don’t even have a formal plan or process for following up with trade show leads. Factoring in the overall cost of exhibiting at any trade show, imagine what the return on your investment would look like with a solid plan in place.

You’ll first need to discuss with your team what objectives need to be accomplished, which can be done by answering a few questions. Do you have a new product or services to announce or debut? Do you simply want the name recognition to continue your branding? Who is your ideal audience or decision maker?

As you build out your ideal audience, you’ll need to do some homework on those contacts and their companies. Who from your target list is attending the show? How many properties or units do they have in their portfolio? Where is their footprint? These are only a few of the questions you’ll need to answer to truly understand the prospecting potential at each trade show.

“Each business card you get and conversation you have already has a dollar amount that you’ve paid.”

Once you’ve finished this process it’s on to the next – the trade show campaign. While each company’s campaign will be different and depend heavily on your overall goals, you’ll likely build on the following tasks:

  • Draft marketing emails
  • Monitoring the social media accounts of your clients and prospects (don’t forget the association!)
  • Set appointments weeks in advance
  • Coach your sales team on the messaging
  • Plan the entering of prospect information into your CRM after the show
  • And (surprise, surprise) follow up so that it’s completed in a timely manner.


Trade shows aren’t cheap, so each business card you get and conversation you have already has a dollar amount that you’ve paid. If you and your team don’t have a full plan in place, the likelihood of timely follow up is not very high. At that point, the leads you do get could have been touched by your competitors or no longer even be in the same position.

If you need help researching multifamily companies and properties for your trade show planning and follow up, get in touch and let’s talk about how ALN has helps thousands of suppliers reach their targeted audience.

This article was originally published May 11, 2017. Updated 2019 with link to more recent information.