March 10th was a big day for Washington State University alumni and Absolute Mortgage alike. You see we were at the 4th Annual CougsFirst! Show.
CougsFirst! Is a trade show promoting businesses owned by Washington State University alums. And if there’s one thing I can say about Cougs it’s that they love to support Cougs.
A few months ago I made a blog post about How Loan Officers Can Maximize Their Investments at Tradeshows. Having been to this one I want to point out a few more things you can do to really take home the gold.
Tailor Your Team
“What year are you?”
I got that question a lot, and with good reason. After all at a tradeshow tailored to WSU alumni you’d expect some WSU alumni. I found myself saying “Oh, I didn’t go to Wazzu (the colloquial term for the college) but don’t worry, I’m not a Husky!” Which is true, I didn’t go to the schools rival University, but I definitely wasn’t in.
If you’re going to such a specific trade show, make sure a majority of your team has something in coming with the rest of the attendees. In this case our booth was able to point to the president, an executive vice president, and several loan officers within the company that did go to Washington State University. It’s critical to have these people around. You need someone who understands the culture of the show you’re at. Someone who can really understand the feeling of having done the same thing.
What does this mean for other types of shows? Find the experienced. Loan Officers greatly benefit from going to wedding shows. In most cases the next step after the wedding is the house. So bring along someone who understands. Recently married Loan Officers who just went through the planning process will be able to bond with clients on another level. The feeling of ‘I understand because I did it too’ brings people a lot closer together than a sales pitch.
Make Contests Easy
Everyone loves a chance to win, but they’re not going to do it if it’s hard to enter. Glitchy systems, difficult entries, and multi-step processes are just going to make people say no. Here are a few easy ways to garner attention:
- Enter Your E-mail to Win!
By having someone only enter their e-mail address and letting them know that you’ll only contact them if they’ve won, you’ve made created a single-step process for the consumer and are more likely to gain entries. Doing this over an iPad or tablet at the booth can create an easy back-end list for you to use once the convention is finished.
- Enter Our Simple Drawing!
- By leaving a fishbowl and a stack of cards for people to fill out at will you’ve removed any electronic steps for the less tech-savvy convention goers. A stack of papers where they can enter fields such a name and e-mail address using a pen or pencil and then dropping it into the bowl themselves. You won’t need anyone to explain the steps to them, just leave the items out and watch your entries grow!
- Drop Your Business Card and Win!
- Probably the easiest of the options listed above when you’re at a networking event. No one needs to fill out any information, they just drop in the card they already have on them and walk away. The benefit to you? There’s tons of information on business cards! Names, several phone numbers, e-mail addresses, the business they’re associated with. All great information given at the drop of a hat!
Split the Staff
A crowded booth drives people away. Though you want more than just a few people working the booth so you can rotate out when someone needs to grab a meal you want to give other jobs to the people working with you as well.
Send someone out to scope the swag the other booths have for ideas for next year. Have someone else head out to make connections. You’re bound to bump into an old friend or a booth that is selling a product you need. There’s nothing wrong with going out and finding what you need in addition to selling what you make.
Building connections is part of the reason you’re there. And doing that with 6 people hanging around their own booth is nearly impossible. A possible client will walk buy, see the overly crowded booth and think ‘oh, they’re already busy’ and walk away. That’s a lost opportunity that you can gain back by going out on the floor.
Stand Out Swag
In my previous blog on Tradeshows I praised branded mobile device chargers. And I still think these are game changers. Here are a few more swag items I saw go over like gangbusters:
Breakfast Smoothies, Protein Shakes, even Salad Dressings. Blender Bottles have a massive number of recipes that they can be used for so handing out branded Blender Bottles is a biggie. People use them on a regular basis so having another on hand is always good news for when a different one might be dirty, especially when one of those has your companies logo smack dab in the middle of it.
“Oh I always need another pair of these!”
That was the #1 thing I heard when people received branded earbuds. People use them for travel, for backup, to have a set in their purse so they don’t need to move their pair that’s in their gym bag back and forth. More is always better when it comes to these guys.
Adult Coloring Books
More and more studies are showing that coloring helps reduce stress and anxiety in adults. And in the fast paced working world who doesn’t feel a little overwhelmed from time to time? Having your company’s logo related with reduced stress and a bit of colorful fun couldn’t possibly hurt, right?
I saw this one a lot at the CougsFirst! Show. Cheeses, bags of popcorn, distilleries, and vineyards were all showing up to show off their wares and those were among the most popular booths. Having little treats that you can give away will boost your booths popularity and keep consumers around longer. After all, they’re not going to have to go off looking for a place to grab lunch if they’re full from your tasty snacks.