But, the hardest part of Expo East – or any trade show for that matter – comes after it ends when entrepreneurs must tackle the daunting and sometimes discouraging task of following up with everyone they met, according to Brandon Leong, the VP of marketing and growth for the online platform RangeMe, which connects retailers and products.
Luckily, he says, RangeMe can help by doing for the sell sheet, what LinkedIn did for the resume, and helping entrepreneurs better tailor their follow-up for each potential consumer or buyer.
He explained that RangeMe, is like LinkedIn in that it provides a one stop shop for retailers to learn all about new products and a way to reach out to brands, similar to how LinkedIn allows recruiters to learn the basics about and make contact with potential employees. In this way, he said, RangeMe doubles as a real-time digital sell sheet that, like a resume on LinkedIn, brands can share with buyers.
At events like Expo East “you meet amazing buyers, [which is] great. [But] what happens after you have the business card – the golden business card – of the one retailer you always want to get into and you email them, and you call them, and you email and you email them and you email them like 150 times … why aren’t they picking up? Well, because they also met 500 people at the same show,” Leong said.
Which is why it is important that follow-up efforts standout just as much as the initial introduction, he said.
RangeMe can help brands do that by giving entrepreneurs a digital sell sheet that they can easily share with potential buyers and which helps them track what products each buyer looked at and for how long. It also tracks whether follow up emails have been opened – allowing entrepreneurs to better tailor follow-up communications and send the samples in which a buyer is most interested, he said.
“Little things like that sound … overwhelming, but really it is just a natural extension of what you already are going to be doing,” and is more efficient, he added, comparing RangeMe in this capacity to a customer relationship management tool.
RangeMe can also help entrepreneurs at an even more basic level before they respond to potential buyers, by helping them understand what retailers need to know before they can put a product on the store shelves.
Leong explains that RangeMe asks entrepreneurs all the basic questions that buyers and retailers will want answers to, and by giving young brands a heads up, the platform can help them streamline communication with each retailer and appear more polished and professional.
The “overwhelming majority – like 60% to 70% of brands coming to the market – don’t know” the basics of starting a food or beverage business, such as how to obtain an EIN number, properly photograph products, or even their margins, Leong said. All of which retailers and potential buyers will want to know and which RangeMe can help walk industry newcomers through obtaining and establishing, he added.
With RangeMe’s help, he added, entrepreneurs will only panic “a little bit” before realizing what they need to succeed in the industry.