Trade shows can be a hard slog at times. You work for a full day, most of which will be spent on your feet, meeting anything from a few dozen to hundreds of people. You will be expected not only to be polite to all of them, but to give your best sales pitch as well. It is no surprise that most people find themselves collapsing on the sofa for a well-deserved rest afterwards!

However, the end of a trade show does not mean you can put it out of your mind. All of the contacts you've made and leads you have acquired will need to be followed up on, which can be hard work; sometimes it's an even tougher job than the original exhibition!

You need to be prepared for all this if you're planning on heading out to a trade show in the near future. Without follow-up work, there's no point in going. After all, the leads you acquire won't necessarily contact you themselves; they will be just as busy as you! It is your responsibility to get in touch afterwards.

You need to try to convert every single lead you acquire into a solid sale, which can mean a lot of work. However, it will all be worth it if you are successful. Here's how to make sure you follow up after a trade show with no problems:

Allocate yourself the time

The main reason follow-up work is such a pain is that few of us have the time to go through it all. As soon as the trade show has finished, we're back to the daily grind and have few chances to start chasing up leads. As such, you need to prepare for this well in advance.

It is difficult to know exactly how long following up will take - after all, you could finish an exhibition with three leads or 300 - but you should endeavour to leave yourself a good amount of time for it. In the week or two following the trade show, avoid scheduling any meetings or calls so you can dedicate that time to chasing up leads.

Have a system in place

This work is always going to be quicker if you know exactly what you're doing from the start. You should try to have some kind of system in place for following up leads. This can include a database to record any sales information resulting from your work, or a planned script to use when making the calls.

You can even get other employees to help out with this work. If you've prepared a standard follow-up message, you can distribute this to other members of staff and they can take on some of the work.

Make notes at the show

Perhaps most importantly, you need to remember everyone you talk to at the show. This is especially true if they have a specific query that needs answering. As such, you need to make sure you're taking notes throughout the exhibition, which will make the follow-up work so much easier.

These notes don't have to be comprehensive - often just a sentence or two will be enough to jog your memory - but they should always contain any vital information. If someone talks to you about a specific deal, for example, then you will look foolish if you call them up later having forgotten all about it!