Should You Market Your Services at a Trade Show?By: Susan Dunn
As a fundraiser for a homeless shelter, I did lots of trade shows. It's a lazy, "attraction" method that works, but not the way you might like if you're keen on the numbers and speed.
Actually every time I go out, anywhere, I tend to get a client. That's what I learned as a fundraiser. Get Out. Of course I had more staff and budget then, but I went to anything I could get into - chamber luncheons, non-profit banquets, plumbing trade shows, church anniversaries. Mix and mingle.
Wear a name tag. Think marketing. A fundraiser should never be in her office. Nor should you on your “marketing” day.
If you’re a non-profit and go to a Construction Trade Show, you will attract the curious and the bold, and those with time on their hands, and what's not to like about that? “Well,” they say, “what on earth is a homeless shelter doing at a construction trade show ... let's go see!” [“Coaching? What's that? Why are
I would recommend doing it a couple of times to see if it works for you – if you’re the kind of person who can work a trade show. An old tradeshow trick is to hire a beautiful young woman to staff your booth.
Maybe you are a beautiful young woman, or have a peaceful demeanor, or a broken arm (I hope not) something that attracts people. You have to know yourself. I have a big charismatic smile and know how to use it though I am neither beautiful, nor young, and I get a kick out of people and it shows. (Also good EQ.)
If it just isn’t your cup o’ tea, hire someone through your local Temporary Agency. In ways it’s more “professional.”
Try different things. Now, I have brought along a book and sat there and read. I do Internet marketing. I have a book with HTML in big letters on the cover, and that gives them a conversation entry. I take it on plane trips and have gotten clients that way.
Invest in some promotional stuff. I have a nice classy t-shirt with logo on it. I have a fun one that says "I'm a coach. I solve problems."
I've used a nametag that says "Susan Dunn. Ask me about coaching." I wear that when I'm out and about. (Get a kit at Office Max and make some different ones and see what works.) Standing around in intermission at the symphony, people get real boooooooooored.
A soft, non-threatening demeanor works well. Everyone's timid to approach. But you learn all this experientially -- how to work the eye contact. Get some coaching if this is a puzzle for you.
The crowd is one thing. The other vendors are another. The employees of the convention center are yet another. To me, where there are people, there’s business.
Here are a few tricks if you decide to do it:
© copyright, Susan Dunn, 2003
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