Every year we are invited to a selection of social events like birthdays, anniversaries or just to celebrate good times with special friends. We go with excitement and enjoy the process of selecting just the right gift.
Then there are those other invitations, the ones that require a significant payment to attend for the privilege of standing on our feet for hours at a time and the request to give away a gift in a raffle to a person we do not know, may never know and sometimes do not want know.
This is all about convention sales. Look on your calendar and you will see these events on your reminder list. They may include a conference for case managers, social workers, hospital respiratory therapists or continuing care professionals.
If you decide to take the plunge and attend, some guidance is in order. Convention selling is not only an art form but time-consuming. And you must select the right event and do your homework once you leave.
Make the suggestions in this 10-point plan a part of your convention sales process:
1. Think about the design of your space. Make sure people can walk into your "home" for the day. Keep the clutter to a minimum. You do not need to bring your entire store to the conference.
2. Draw the attendee in to your space. Create interest through signage, questions posted on your signs, colors and the use of words such as "new," "different," "only" and "exciting." Separate yourself from those around you.
3. Booth giveaways. Minimum booth giveaways are fine. It is often all about the salesperson in the booth. Their personality, smile and greeting may be the best giveaway ever.
4. Name tags. Wear 'em. You want people to see your name and your company name just as much as you want to see theirs. Place nametags at eye level — not on your belt or waist — and make sure you have lots of business cards for people to take. There is no better marketing tool.
5. Approach the attendee. Never miss the opportunity to say hello. You need to meet and greet as many people as possible. And make sure that you are standing up. It's hard to greet people when you have made the poor decision to be sitting down when attendees come by your booth.