Monday, March 06, 2006

Booth or Billboard: Part Next

Someone asked me a bunch of questions about not having a traditional booth w/table and here are my answers out loud:
  1. Question: Where does the attorney go at the event if they can't hang out in or near their booth. How will prospects find them?
    Answer: Without the anchor of a booth attorneys are freed to move about the conference and be where the prospects are (which is normally nowhere near the "booth alley"). Instead of being tied up answering questions from idle passers-by the attorneys can focus on the flow of the event, making connections, getting introductions, and participating IN the event, not AT the event.
  2. Question: Why do you say (referring to me) that booths are a negative first impression?
    Answer: Think about how you react when you walk by a booth you are not interested in at a conference. There are people in the booth expectantly watching you, wondering if you are a viable prospect, almost willing you to be so that they have something to do; So you focus really hard on getting by unnoticed. How can what I just described be a positive experience? People DO NOT want to be sold at and a booth is a clear signal that you want to be a seller. Whether walking past booths at swap-meets, at home & garden shows, conventions or conferences, a booth is the universal sign for 'salesperson inside waiting to sell.'
  3. Question: How can I distribute collateral and promotional items without a booth?
    Answer: If there is some chachka you just have to get in the hands of wondering herds of disinterested business people get it in the bag before they pick it up at registration. As for collateral; A message printed on slick paper with pretty pictures telling a generic story for a broad audience does not land new customers. Not for business law firms at least. If you must bring it get it into the bag pre-registration as well.
  4. Question: How do we collect business cards to build our mailing lists without a booth?
    Answer: The attorneys and business development professionals collect them one at a time from people they are connecting with while they work within the event. A mailing list of 5 names we've connected with will reap far greater reward than 50 we have never met.
  5. Question: As a marketer (junior or senior) how can I add value at a conference if I don't have a booth to manage?
    Answer: Work the pre-conference, get attendee lists, know the speakers, VIP's; Help attorneys find attendees at the conference, arrange meeting spaces on the fly, keep your attorneys informed of buzz and secondary conversations, talk to other sponsors at the event and find out what is working/not working, check rooms/AV/setups before your attorneys speak on panels and podiums.
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