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Tracy’s Thoughts: Vendors and Conventions

July 8, 2014

Subscriber Services Manager Tracy Skinner at the PIA Oregon Agents Expo

Throughout my career I’ve attended a good number of conventions and other meetings as a vendor. I set up my booth and talk about WSRB and other topics like golf. OK, mostly golf.

I like to wander about from time to time because I am curious and my feet hurt if I stand still too long. Every show I learn something new on how to display, how to talk to folks, and generally how to do a better job. The best part of a show is seeing old friends, talking about what we can do and seeing the strength of the insurance agent. If you are an agent at a trade show, the basics do not change.

While I am no expert at the vendor show, I have noticed a few things that can’t be helpful. To display at one of these is not cheap, so being there means you really need to get some value. Here are a couple basic things that I think hurt:

  1. Having the table in between you and the folks. This is a barrier. It is easy to walk by you and the table promotes your stuff over you. Insurance is a relationship business—put the table behind you and talk to people. After all, it’s why you are there.
  2. Sitting down behind the table that you are using as a barrier. This always looks to me like “the whole thing is a drag, can we please get it over with?” Or “take a pen and move on please. “
  3. Head down in a phone, computer or whatever. This can be softened if the booth person would raise their arm, wave at the SWAG (stuff we all get) and say, “Take whatever you want.” The personal touch helps.

Every booth gives away SWAG and brochures. The brochures are instant trash. I read one place that said don’t even bother, just bring business cards. As to SWAG, I have no suggestions here. You have to have stuff or people think you are cheap, but in reality, most of it ends up in the back of a desk drawer. We give away rubber ducks. What do they have to do with a Rating Bureau? I have no idea but folks love them! One outfit gives out $2 bills. That always works and you can see that I remembered. Scotch or wine might have the same affect but probably not a great idea.

So, my view on this is that you are there to meet people who one day may need what you do. Get out from behind the table. They probably are not going to buy anything that day so don’t worry about the brochures and other things. Put that stuff in back of you or to the side. Oh, and enjoy yourself! People can tell, and anyway, you are with a great group of folks.

Our new series, Tracy’s Thoughts, is a once-monthly smorgasbord of thoughts from our Subscriber Services Manager, Tracy Skinner. Topics will range from vending at conventions, to the importance of insurance, and beyond! We hope you enjoy Tracy’s thoughts and stop by for more!

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