Just returned from the ICF Conference in San Jose, where we had our first ever Multiple Streams of Coaching Income booth as part of the exhibits.
Here’s a snapshot of Andrea & I at the booth, aren’t we cute?
Just wanted to share a few insights and a rather hard-knock lesson, should you ever be doing a booth in the near future.
Read the Small Print
Little did we know that the teamsters union run the exhibit hall in San Jose. We were ‘surprised’ with an invoice for $720.40 from the exhibit management company on our second day. The invoice was for moving our boxes of books from the loading dock to the booth (within spitting distance of each other).
As you can imagine we were a bit shocked at this charge, and asked to discuss it with the management company. After a somewhat abrupt conversation we were shown the ‘union rules’ for the facility and informed that if we didn’t pay they would tear our booth down on the spot. Eeek!
Needless to say we paid, and were later informed by a frequent exhibitor that the unions usually run these tradeshows and it is actually standard practice to ‘bribe’ them to knock these prices down. He said he actually brings up to $1000 cash to the bigger shows so he doesn’t have to pay these high charges. Who knew hey?
Lesson learned – read the small print for any exhibit you plan on attending, and look for alternatives to shipping direct to the exhibit hall. Save yourself the big bucks and the headache.
Presenting Makes for Better Booth Traffic
Andrea was part of a panel that spoke on Thursday afternoon, the first day of the conference. And let me tell you, after Andrea presented our booth activity picked up ten-fold. People were coming by to grab a copy of the newly released book, say hi to Andrea, ask a question and just generally connect.
Before the presentation the only people who came to the booth were those who were already familiar with us in some way. By doing the presentation Andrea was able to make a connection with many people (there were 400 attendees at the panel) and start that oh-so-important relationship that brought them to the booth to learn more… so highly recommend combining a booth with a presentation where possible.
Talking to People is a Great Way to Write Marketing Copy
This was probably one of my favorite benefits of having a booth. We were offering 2 things at our booth – the anniversary edition of the Multiple Streams book and the brand spanking new Pink Spoon Marketing program. And as people came to visit we were given the opportunity to try out different ways to describe what we offer.
Let me tell you, there is nothing like seeing the immediate reaction of someone in front of you when you tell them ‘what you do’. When we said something one way we would get a blank stare, and then tried saying it a different way and could see it totally click. It was great, and we learned ALOT about how to share what the heck it is we do.
People Like the Shiny/Fun Things
The busiest booths at the event were the fun ones. We were beside Marcy of CoachingToys.com, who was giving away these fun blinky lights that you pin onto your shirt. And i’m telling ya people were lining up in droves to get one. Of course you had to give your business card to get one, brilliant marketing for Marcy to build her list.
Another really popular booth was the Aura Photography booth on the other side of us. You have your picture taken with a special camera that shows your aura, and then have one of their coaches do a reading of what your aura says. Very fun stuff, and coach Belle Star told me that she gets most of her clients through these readings. According to my aura im a ‘fiery wench’ and was also ‘bossy as a child’… still am. 😉
There were also booths that did readings on your soul type (i’m an 8), sold tibetan meditation bowls and more… all of which had a regular stream of interested visitors. So it occured to us, how could we make our booth more ‘fun’? We have some thoughts brewing for next time, as there is something to be learned here.
Set Realistic Expectations for your Booth Results
We came to the exhibit with books and products in hand and expecting to sell a bundle. Then quickly came to realize that people don’t necessarily come to exhibits to buy stuff.
Other exhibitors shared the same experience, their sales were not quite what they hoped for. We did actually sell about 100 books which was great, but realized that we would have been better to focus on building our list in some fashion.
In other words, take our own advice and offer some kind of pink spoon in exchange for an email address. Go figure hey? Amazing how the simple things are sometimes so easy to forget. So be sure to look at what you really want to accomplish from your booth, and focus on building your list for the ‘long term sale’.
Not Everyone Wants a Million Dollars
We had these great million dollar bills that we gave out at the booth, with an invitation to sign up for our free ecourse ‘The Five Keys To Putting Money in Coaches’ on the back. They look totally real and were loads of fun to hand out, you can kind of see them in the picture above.
However it was strange to see how many people would say ‘no thanks’ when we offered them a million dollars. What’s up with that? Is it some kind of block to making money? Or perhaps just an aversion to having someone from a booth try to give them something? I don’t really have a clue, just found it curious.
Have a booth story or suggestion to share? Would love to hear it, just post a comment below.