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I need some guidance on the following.

 

What I thought would be a small "Open Networking/Trade Show Event" that I could manage without too much stress, has now morphed. Which is really good PR for the host, who thought this would be a good way for people/businesses to see what her business has to offer.

 

While I was quite comfortable (okay, not comfortable -but resigned to overcome obstacles and get a table) with the event when it was first mentioned to me. I received an e-mail from the organizer and she is now expecting 350 people and the event is two weeks away. In her e-mail it states "Open Networking Event has gone VIRAL!"

 

Now I am beginning to panic. Should I mention that this is my first table/booth and hindsight is now screaming "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!"

 

I will be provided with a covered 6' table, so my area will probably be quite small. Also this event is only going to last for about 2 1/2 hours.

 

I was planning on having a place for people to deposit their business cards if they were interested in getting on my newsletter list. With copies of my September and October newsletters available (although I was only going to have about 50 printed with September on one side and October on the other side). I was also going to have approximately 75 of my brochures available for those that were interested in more information. I am also going to have business cards available for everyone that stops by (I have plenty of those, although after this event I may have to get more).

 

I will also have short PowerPoint presentations running about the services that I offer along with the benefits.

 

I can prepare a tri-fold display, but would need to get it started so I would have it completed by the date of the event. Since I was only anticipating that 150 people would attend this event and now they are expecting 350+, can anyone give me some other ideas of what I need to make sure that I have on hand. Especially as to the quantity of newsletters and brochures that I will need to have on hand.

 

Also any other tidbits that could be useful would be greatly appreciated!

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Hi Linda

 

I participated in a trade show type deal and I had a table set up with a trifold display board with 8 1/2 X 11 laminated cards that emphisized the main points of what a Virtual Assistant is and what the VA business can offer. The event was not business people so I was not able to hand out many brochures or cards. Depending on what the focus of this event is, ie business people or the local residents looking for what is new, that may be a guage for you to decide what you will need to bring. Not everyone will take your brochure or card. A basket to collect cards may be useful. I think if there is too much then people won't want to stop and read. Maybe laminate your tag line and display that as a draw to get people to come to your table. I put my table towards the back of the area I was given and stood in front of it. If I was selling something like dishcloths, I would be behind the table. Make sure you bring a cloth to cover your table and I would suggest that it be big enough to drape to the floor, That way you can store extra stuff behind it under your table.

 

For the number of brochures that you have, I am not sure what to say. More is better than not enough. If you are printing them yourself, I would have more on hand. Also make sure you have enough cards. I know that I hand out cards everywhere I go. You will always be able to hand out the cards.

 

I hope that helps a bit. I am not expert but have done it in the past.

 

Warmly

 

Carol

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You can do this! And it will be good exposure for your business. I usually gauge 1 in 3 will pick up my brochure for events if it is business related. So don't get too freaked out about racing around getting more brochures. If you start to run out then just staple one to your back drop for people to read and hand out if asked for. Have plenty of business cards on hand for everyone as that is what most pick up. Are you doing a draw in exchange for their business card? If you have any freebie promotional things to give out, what I usually do is put up a sign like ask me "What is a VA?" and I'll give you a free gift. That gets them talking to you (to get their gift) instead of just picking them up from the table.

 

You'll do fine and don't sweat it. How many tables will there be in total?

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Tawnya

 

Thanks for your encouragement and information. I don't have a problem with my business cards because I have at least 500 left from my original printing.

 

I had not thought of using a "draw" to get their business card, although I was looking at some giveaways to get people to stop by. [Possibly Halloween candy, since Halloween is so close.] I was thinking about customized M&M printed with "H.A.S. Time" in light blue and silver colors (pillow packs), but I think that would blow my budget at this time. So I will probably look at something less expensive. Although I will keep this in mind for my next event (either table or seminar).

 

There will 35 tables in all, five of them will be food vendors.

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There is some risk to having snacks. I've seen people just calmly eat while they walk on past. People do like a tangible to carry off, even if it is a tri-fold brochure.

 

The last trade show we did, we had CDs of the slide show that we were playing on the table computer for them. Everyone seemed to perceive VALUE in these and didn't take them unless they had an interest. When we ran out of CDs, we were able to get their contact information so we could send a follow-up.

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Judy

 

Your CDs --did you put them in a plastic case, cardboard holder, what?

 

Yes, I do realize that snacks will be abused by some.

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Ooo, lots of good ideas already. I'll toss my hat in the ring with suggesting a half sheet 'take action' checklist as a handout or pick up sheet.

 

The checklist could be a few [1-5] questions that a prospect would ask him/herself to see if he/she feels the need for a VA then a section saying something like, 'I need help with' and listing your services and/or sub-services with a box to check in front of the service title. The bottom portion would be your contact info with some text suggesting to contact you for a free 30 minute consultation or whatever you typically offer inquiries.

 

The brochure would explain about you, your biz, being a VA, and what you bring to them. The checklist would be your 'take action' piece.

 

Definitely have a drawing, use a skirted tablecloth, some potted plants for warmth, any freebie items such as hard candy, pens, erasers, keyrings, etc. and a sign up sheet or use your laptop for newsletter/mailing list signups.

 

Since there will be other food vendors you may want to consider a chocolate dipping fountain with some fruit, breads, etc. Hand passerbys a skewer and invite them to 'take a dip into the VA world.'

 

Have fun!

 

PS: Bring a friend to help you out at the booth. The friend will keep the supplies stocked and help you chat and handout things.

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There is some risk to having snacks. I've seen people just calmly eat while they walk on past. People do like a tangible to carry off, even if it is a tri-fold brochure.

 

The last trade show we did, we had CDs of the slide show that we were playing on the table computer for them. Everyone seemed to perceive VALUE in these and didn't take them unless they had an interest. When we ran out of CDs, we were able to get their contact information so we could send a follow-up.

 

Great idea and CDs are like $1 each to burn. I'd just put them in the cheapest packaging possible like a paper sheath of sorts. There are these cool little burnable CDs in the shape of business cards that I've used before and are great to advertise with. You can put a whole business presentation on them like powerpoint or whatever you want. I've never bought from this company and therefore not recommending but they had a bunch of pics of them on it: http://www.blank-cd-r-business-card.com/

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