Greetings from not-so-sunny Florida! It's a gray and rainy weekend here, and it's been getting to my spirits a bit. But I managed to shake a bit of the blues away this morning, mostly because Scott, my new best friend at the Drucker Group, called in to see how the show went yesterday. And I got all energized just telling him about it. See, the booth was packed all day--in fact, we kept trying to do the drawing of the $1000 winner at the end of the day, and I kept getting called away to referee the basketball-throw game! Finally, we snagged a few minutes before show closing to draw a winner and snap a few pix. (Yes, they'll be up here once I get home; I don't have a laptop with me at the moment!)
And the client's fishbowl was full to the brim with lead cards, all representing people who had not only given their info, but played the fun basketball game and who would soon be receiving a MasterLock polo shirt in the mail as follow up. Matter of fact, many of the attendees even commented on the company's great marketing strategies, both with the interactive basketball game in the booth and with the shirt being mailed the following week!
You know you're doing well when attendees like the marketing strategy!
Comments from attendees today: "You guys are the most fun in the show so far!" and "You are more energetic and upbeat than anyone else in the show!"
:-) And that, my friends, is my job!
And this makes me think about a call I received from another client last week, in which he asked for marketing ideas for a show and said he didn't want to do anything "too cheesy." And this is what everyone says--they don't want a gimmick; they don't want the flash. And I'm torn because I do understand those concerns with campaigns and shows that are all flash and no substance. However, saying you don't want anything too bold is like telling a marketing person that you don't want her to do any marketing. The truth is that people do need something to be attracted to your booth. They need sound or light or a game or a juggling bear or SOMETHING. Now, how you educate them once they're there and interested is your job--your substance. But everyone needs at least a little flash, or you'll be passed right by without a second glance and be left wondering why your fabulous product isn't selling better.
What a crazy day! When I hoped for more travel as a presenter, I don't think I really thought through what it would be like. And how will this be when I start travelling internationally??
Still, I'm very excited about the upcoming show for Master Lock. Scott at the Drucker Group has done an excellent job with the booth theme and pre-show mailings, and I think it's going to be a lot of fun. And not just because it's in Florida!
And a brief thought for the day... I went to my first political rally last night for the democratic candidate preferred by a friend of mine. I was curious about what exactly a rally would be like (a bunch of people sitting around a restaurant/bar), and figured that it couldn't help to educate myself about the candidates for once. A quiet group was gathered at the bar, watching the speeches of the various candidates. And then I noticed two rather loud men behind us, who started declaring, "Hey, Bush is great! Uh.... [insert candidate name here] sucks!"
Fortunately, everyone in the group just ignored them; no one even looked up, in fact. But it does make me wonder why some folks derive enjoyment from goading others. One would assume that they thought all beliefs political must by nature be ardent and therefore grounds for a violent argument, perhaps? Maybe this was in the same realm of walking into this particular establishment, which happens to be in Wisconsin, and declaring loudly, "The Packers suck!" or some such thing, and then... what? This is what I'm wondering. What exactly did these loud gentlemen want to happen?
Anyway, I was quite pleased that no one took the bait and simply watched the television quietly and chatted amongst ourselves as we had been. And the would-be troublemakers went on their way.
And here we are, back in snowbound Chicago again! You know, one of the exercises that Barbara Sher recommends that her Success Team members do is to write down a description of a perfect day. In our team, most started out something like, "I'd wake up naturally, without alarm clocks, feeling refreshed and ready to do yoga" and would detail the elements of the person's dream job and lifestyle. My day was, of course, jam-packed with meeting clients over coffee in my perfectly-pressed suit and throwing elegant dinner parties for my closest of friends at night. And I remember Gray's comment when I shared my Perfect Day scenario with him, "You know, one day you're gonna get that day, and you're going to be so freakin' tired at the end of it!"
Grin! And it's true... living your dreams can be exhausting. I write this now because one of my dreams was to be so busy with presentation work that I felt like my life was a crazy blur of scripts and travel and client calls on the cell phone. (Oh, and of course, I always have picture-perfect hair and a stylish suit with carefully-selected, understated accessories for this, too.) And now... well, a wonderful writer and marketer with whom I did a show last fall, Scott of The Drucker Group, was kind enough to consider me for his client's show in Florida this weekend. Yes, it will be a blur of travel and cell phone calls and all, and I'll arrive back in Chicago a scant 24 hours before heading off to Texas for the TCEA conference. So I think this officially qualifies as a "blur"! And, while I'm exhausted, I'm delighted to have the chance to complain about having too much work--especially considering that it's all the kind of work that I love!
Thanks for the call, Scott--it'll be a great show!
Happy contented sigh! Ah, this is why I'm here! I've been giving software and online demos for my favorite client, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, at FETC all day, and boy, is this exhilerating!
Diane just walked up to me and said that someone from another booth had come up to her and asked for mercy on my behalf: "Why are you working her so hard? She never leaves the presentation stage!" (I've been presenting twice an hour, and crowd-gathering before and answering questions after as well.) Diane's reply, of course, was "Because I pay her!"
And this is, yet again, Reason #1 to use a professional presenter instead of your sales reps for presentations. First of all, you can work us all the time, and we'll still be smiling and perky and loving every minute by the end of the day! And second, you can let your sales reps back out into the field earlier, so you'll hear fewer complaints from them about how much work they're missing in the field.
Just and enthusiastic little commercial from a very happy presenter. :-)
Hello, all! Know the best way to beat the gray Chicago twenty-below-zero blues? Go to Florida!
When I stepped off the plane in Orlando to balmy 70-degree weather.... well, I haven't been able to wipe the smile off my face! The new OCCC convention center is gorgeous and well-designed, and I've also decided I want to move in to the Peabody Hotel, where we're staying. Not only is it ridiculously lavish with exquisite bed linens and an Olympic-size outdoor pool, but it has a quirk: ducks.
Every day at 11:00 a.m. the red carpet is rolled out, and the duck marshall brings out the herd of ducks into the hotel fountain, and the process is repeated in reverse at 4:30. And the whole hotel is duck-themed--there are tastefully-designed ducks emblazoned on everything from towels to soaps to the room keys. :-)
And now, having recorded one brief last-minute script for the client, I'm off for an evening of enjoying the chocolate-coated strawberries that greeted me upon entry. So I can personally vouch for the flawless service at this hotel with a big, relaxing aahhhhh!
Well, it looks like most of the pain is over for me--I've finally chosen a nice, reliable, fuel-efficient car that should serve me well over the next few years. Final choice? A 1999 Honda Civic. Not nearly as cute as my red sports car, but much newer and more reliable, yet still peppy with some decent pickup.
And of course, the car shopping entailed a certain amout of conflict, negotiation and persuasion. So I of course put the advice of my dear friend Bob Burg to use. See, the first car I chose, a 1997 Civic from a nearby dealer, did not pass my mechanic's inspection. So, when I drove the car back to the dealership, I heeded Mr. Burg's advice, saying simply that we should continue looking for a car that fit my particular needs and specifications. The sales manager was understandably offended, but I simply explained that mechanics are a bit like doctors--they can both look at the same thing and make different diagnoses. And I was sure that he understood (yes, that's a Bob phrase) that I couldn't consider a car to which my mechanic of seven years had given a thumbs-down. Really, by the end of it, I think that they would have given the car away!
And I do have to applaud the salesperson, David K., from the dealership. He was polite and considerate and very consciencious about calling me back. Truly, he took the whole adventure in stride. And I took time to compliment his sales skills, too--he did make the experience a lot more enjoyable than it might otherwise have been.
All that being said, the new car from another source should be in my hands by tomorrow afternoon. Here's hoping that everything goes smoothly!
So it turns out that this trapped day in Madison is working out nicely for me. Not only did I get a much more social Sunday night than I might have otherwise, but I do believe that I got much more work done today than I would have with the distractions of my cat and home and all. Odd how that works out, isn't it?
Yes, I've sat down to make a dozen phone calls, some of which are nice and easy calls to friends, and others of which are semi-cold or warm calls to prospects. This part is never easy for me; I'm always much more comfortable with clients once we've got a working relationship. But then, how else to get the working relationship, n'est-ce pas? And I've followed Heidi's general rule of respecting time: if they even sound like they're in the middle of something, excuse yourself and bow out of the call. No one likes to be bugged while working, even if it's from an associate or partner. I figure I call always call in a few weeks, and at some point, they'll be ready to sit down and chat.
That being said, I'm very pleased that two prospects (OK, I really hate calling them that--like they're fresh meat or something. How about "cool, smart folks"?) responded, and it looks like there is a definite need for my services for both occasions. I'm excited about the possibilities and just can't wait to follow up with them! And no, it's not just because one of the shows is in my favorite Town o'Cheese, Vegas! :-)
Hello and Happy New Year to all!
I join you all from the lovely, now-snowbound city of Madison, Wisconsin today. Yes, it's a veritable winter wonderland, after three inches of crisp, white snow fell last night. Actually, I'm here not on official business but rather due to an unexpected extension of a social weekend here--I drove up on Saturday to meet friends for an SCA (medieval reenactment) event. Er, well, that is, I tried to drive up. My old car disagreed with me on just how far to go, and it decided just to plant its feet (well, wheels) and throw a tantrum right around Waukesha, Wisconsin. The rest of the distance to Madison was courtesy of my friend and Web Design God, Gray, who kindly picked me up and escorted me into his fair city.
So the good news is that I had extra time in Madison, took in the Packers game, and even won a round of Scrabble with my host and his roommate. The less pleasant news is that the mechanic in Waukesha "might get around to looking" at my car today, which gives me less hope that it will actually be repaired and running in time for me to return to Chicago tonight. And, being a freelancer, it's actually quite nice that, as long as I have my Palm, a charged cell phone, and a computer with Internet access, I can still get quite a bit of work done. However, as I pointed out to the mechanic that I was ever so gently nudging into speedier action, my arthritis medication and my hungry cat are both in Chicago, so, as much as I'm enjoying my stay here, I'd really like to get back to Chi-town in the near future.
For now, however, I'll get back to work, close this blog entry, and let y'all know how everything turned out later. ;-)