India's Pioneer Media on TradeFairs

81% of Leads are Never Followed Up

By Stephan Murtagh

81% of leads from Exhibitions are not followed up.

By Stephan Murtagh

We train thousands of Exhibitors every year and without fail, companies on the courses say the above statement is not them. The harsh reality is that it is, the vast majority of them and of course I understand why they don’t want to admit it but that doesn’t take away from the reality.

When you are exhibiting, it’s critical to have a follow up strategy and this is much easier to achieve and implement if you have a similar and uniform plan for how you qualify the leads during the show. Not only does it offer you higher conversions, it is also more professional and saves time. The day of writing notes on the back of business cards is well and truly over.

There are many apps, software and other tech style platforms that you can use but unfortunately, I find many of these are clunky and expensive. That’s not to say they don’t have their place but there is absolutely nothing wrong with old school lead capture if it’s done uniformly and simply. That’s the focus of this short article, to look at the benefits, strategy and actions to classify your leads.


  • Saves you time in delegating the leads post show
  • Increases your conversion rate through quicker follow up
  • Makes you look more professional
  • Ensures you get all the relevant information
  • Allows you to get face2face opt in for your database


Whatever way you classify your leads, ultimately you want to do it so you know where they are on the buying cycle. This helps you set a strategy for when and how they should be followed up. Personally, I use the ABCD principles and whilst this appears really simplistic it’s highly effective.

  • Hot Lead ready to buy in next 2 weeks
  • Hot Lead will buy within Month
  • Good Lead but post 1 month buyer
  • Not a real lead, file and/or Dump

Obviously the lead buying time varies per industry but the key point is the follow up dates, particularly for your A & B leads. Whatever system you use, keeping it uniform across the team will really pay dividends when you are back at the office in terms of prioritizing follow up and higher conversion rates. Having a haphazard we will work it out after approach doesn’t work and is just another excuse as to why the leads are not chased up.


Now that you have a lead strategy and understand the importance of post show follow up, it would be a good point to give you the actions that you need to do with your leads. In our industry there is strong research to suggest that leads not followed up within 6 days are not going to convert or become dead over time. When you come back from a show, a lot of people get into catch up mode with things that happened when they were away. This results in leads being shelved for a day, then 2 days and then longer that’s where the problem lies. You need to take the first day back in the office as a Show Day and give full priority to lead follow up.

So your strategy would be:

  1. Follow up every lead within 6 Days
  2. Too many leads? Nice complaint. In this case you should email every visitor within 24 Hours and tell them when you will be following up.

This is what actually works. Classifying Your leads is about a process of what happens next so ensure you have a real plan and it will result in even more Exhibition success for you now and into the future.

Don’t fall into the trap of getting caught up with everything when you get back to the office as it will be the downfall of all that great hard work you did Exhibiting in the first place!

By Stephan Murtagh, The Exhibition Guy