How to turn handshakes into lasting business contacts [TRADE SHOW CASE STUDY]

Background: the problem with marketing at trade shows and B2B events. 

Let’s be honest. 

You know very well what it feels like after getting back from a trade show. 

You’re absolutely bursting with ideas. 

Your pockets are bulging with business cards. 

You plan to send some “thank you for your visit” emails, then Monday comes… 

Then that stack of business cards gets lost on your desk. Or worse, you ping a few promising leads, but then the conversation goes silent after a couple of follow-ups. 

According to the Online Marketing Institute, it takes 6 to 8 touches to generate a viable sales lead. I can assure you that too many companies give up LONG before then. 

David Carta, CEO of Telaeris Inc, a supplier of emergency management systems, has engineered a system for keeping in touch with new contacts 100% of the time (without having to remind users to do it). 

What is the upshot of this? More qualified sales opportunities and more deals signed…all requiring less work. 

Let’s take a look at the process. 


Tip: David uses a badge scanner, but you could use an app like ScanBizCard to scan business cards on your smartphone.  You can then export a .csv file of new contacts and import them all into your marketing email platform (total time: 10 minutes). 


I’m introducing Mailchimp and Active Campaign in-house, but I’ve also recently been evaluating a new platform that integrates additional functions: Drip (used by Telaeris in this case study). 

If you follow me, you’ll know that I’m not a great fan of trade shows as the only tool for generating leads, but if you install a more extensive system, they can provide a winning strategy (once again, I’m referring you to the previous link for more detailed information on this subject). 

Trade shows are a critical source of leads for Telaeris with regard to their products and services. 

David Carta describes to us how to turn handshakes into lasting business contacts: 

To speed up how we capture leads, we have badge scanners that we use at trade shows to automate lead collection. In Drip (email marketing platform – see NOTE above), we then have an email drip sequence specifically tailored for each particular trade show. For example, after a lead gets captured, they’ll automatically receive an email saying: ‘Thanks for stopping by our booth, it was great to connect.’

It’s not just about helpful content, either. 

David makes sure to create some fun and stimulating moments during the trade show, to bring people back to the booth. This lets David make deeper connections with potential clients over multi-day events. 

We will also send out several other emails over the course of the event. Sometimes we’ll have free beer at our booth one afternoon or giveaways such as an iPad raffle. We send out invitations during the event to everyone we’ve met. We’ll say, ‘Come on over and have a beer at our booth and hang out.’

Here’s what’s really cool: 

Following the event, David’s Drip automation moves people from the “trade show” campaign into a longer, more product/service-specific “lead nurturing” sequence, automatically. 

These later emails send leads occasional articles and FAQs about the products and services that they asked for. 


Here’s how a typical Telaeris campaign works during a trade show with the email marketing platform Drip: 

  • 1 hour after adding to Drip:“It was great to connect” 
  • Second day of the trade show:“We have free beer and snacks at our booth, come grab a drink and say hi.” 
  • Final day of the trade show:“Come by and see if you won the raffle for the iPad at 2pm! You must be present to win!” 
  • 1 day after the trade show:“We hope you made it home safely. Here’s more info about our products that you requested” 
  • Add to lead nurture campaign 

No contact accidentally falls out of touch. 

But the question is: “does it work?” 

David explains: 

Usually, the lead-to-sale time is really long, about six months — and sometimes longer for bigger contracts. We recently closed a deal three years after first making contact with the client. Our average sale is $25,000, so we need a lot of touch points. I’ve found that, if you don’t have people in some sort of automation follow-up, you will eventually lose track and drop them.

David’s email campaigns work so well, that he even gets occasional compliments on an employee… who’s no longer with his company. 

Occasionally, prospects will email me and say, ‘Your employee, Liz, keeps emailing me these helpful articles about RFID and barcode systems. Now I want to buy one, and I’m coming to you. You should give that Liz a raise.The funny thing is, Liz left our company. She set up our account, and we never got around to changing the signature of those emails. And they’re still closing deals for us. I tell those clients, ‘You bet — Liz is great. She’s worth every penny.’ That’s the power of staying in front of people over time.

This content has been taken from the original interview released by David Carta. You can find the original article in English by Zach Grove via this link

Just to recap: 

  • Adapt your communication strategy to build solid relations with all your leads, no matter which channel they come through. 
  • Automate email marketing processes. 

How many leads will you get per year as a result of your efforts? 

TraceParts will help you generate qualified leads thanks to the 3D cataloging of your products. Thousands of contacts every month, coming from every market in the world, are choosing 3D files on so that they can test them in their projects before buying them. 

Not everyone will buy straight away. Do you want to let them get away? 

Telaeris has shown you one possible way. TraceParts can help you during every stage of the process, from publishing a 3D product catalog to choosing and configuring the email marketing platform. 

Send me an email to this address: I’ll help you find the ideal solution for increasing your leads and converting them into customers. 

About the Author

Gian Paolo Lodi
Gian Paolo Lodi

Sales Account Manager Part Catalog Services, TraceParts

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