Now that Expo East is over, you may be asking “what’s next?” Here’s my one piece of advice - keep the momentum going!
You’ve connected with hundreds of people - social media influencers, industry experts, service providers, distributors, suppliers, buyers and fellow entrepreneurs. It’s important to build upon the connections you’ve made at the event.
One of the most critical connections you can make at Expo East is with a buyer, and nurturing this relationship is key.
Alli Ball is a former buyer for Bi-Rite and now consults with food producers and manufacturers, guiding them with business planning, product development and wholesale launch. According to Alli, “Your follow-up to the show can make or break that new relationship that you formed on the sales floor.”
She has three tips that Expo East exhibitors need to remember following the show.
1) Don’t forget to follow up. While this seems obvious, as a buyer, she’s seen this step skipped time and again. “When I was a buyer, I had many instances where I met a producer on the trade show floor only to get back to San Francisco and realize that I didn’t have their contact information and couldn’t quite remember their brand,” Alli said. Takeaway: Buyers are busy - it’s unlikely that they will follow up with you, so you must make the first move after the show.
2) Send them a concise, personalized email that includes all of the information that they need to know to make a decision on your brand. Do not mass email - make each one personalized. According to Alli, “as a buyer, I’m much more likely to delete a generic group email than one that is addressed to me and speaks specifically on how your product can help my store.” Don’t forget to include your sell sheet and your pricing on this follow up email.
3) Pick up the phone and call one week after the show (after you’ve sent that follow up email). Then email again. And call again… and again and again. “It takes, on average, seven points of contact with a buyer before they respond and take action on your brand. I always say - as a producer you need to apply constant, gentle pressure on that buyer!”
Need help taking the next step? Alli has a wealth of information on how to reach buyers and make your product stand out. If you have questions on how to pitch to those buyers so they say “yes!”, what to include on your sell sheet, or how to continue that retail relationship, reach out to Alli here.