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Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by Christie, Mar 28, 2011.
Wild Heritage Taxidermy
I read thru most of the thread but not all. Really good information. I'm not in the same industry, but the advice still applies. Most of it we have used ourselves with positive results.
October 2013 we had 2 really solid clients and were praying for a break. Scraped together enough for a booth at a major trade show. Made friends with the show's contact person, who was extremely helpful. At this particular show they had a designated area for emerging companies at a cut rate. We were first to arrive so we had a say in our location. Moved to a site visible from 3 directions on a major isle and made sure to engage anyone and everyone who passed by.
As Christie recommends, We held a drawing to pull people in. Nothing expensive. We had 2 drawings for $50 gift cards to Olive Garden and Red Lobster. To enter you had to drop your business card in the bowl. If you didn't have a card, you wrote your contact info on the back of ours. Either way, we ended up with a lot of potential leads for little money. The winners were very appreciative too.
We also put together packets containing a pen, post It's, a fridge magnet, a brochure, a business card, AND a bite size candy bar. These shows include long days and when people get hungry, they remember they have that candy and when they dig for it, they see our ad. LOL. We had a nice banner and 2 poster boards on stands outlining our services. We all wore coordinated outfits with logo on shirts too. We looked good if I say so myself. All told, Booth, hand outs, banners, rooms, travel, everything, I believe was around $5K. Thats for 4 of us and not a lot relatively speaking.
We had competitors notice us and come over and snoop. Asking our rates and different things and we gladly told them. They were floored. Turns out we were almost double their rates. We also had potential clients say to us "you're way more than X, why are you so high?" And we were prepared to answer with well thought out and truthful responses. "We charge more because"..... and proceeded to list the advantages of using our services.
I also saw competitors who rarely lifted their heads from their cell phones. Potential clients would walk by them, glance at their sign and walk on to us. The exhibitor never even saw or acknowledged the people they were hoping to reach !! This happened dozens of times. They spent all that money to attend and were not working their company at all. They would have been better off to put an ad in a paper and stayed home.
We engaged everyone, even if it was a simple hello. Some would turn to respond, see our info and walk over to talk with us.
Long story short, We presented ourselves in a profession manner. We were knowledgeable about our industry. We were prepared to defend our rate. We had something to draw people in. We had info to hand out to those not wanting to stop and talk and we engaged hundreds of potential clients.
We left that show with 2 contracts. Our business has since exploded and today we have 10 Great Clients in 5 states.
EA, that's great! Trade shows are notoriously expensive and exhausting to do, but if you're going to go through the effort, you might as well make sure you do it right.
Last weeks tip (I'm a bit behind): Are you collecting email addresses of your customers? There's some really great ways to keep in touch through email that can be both personalized and cost effective. How many of you are getting clients emails? And how many that say they are actually know where those emails are?
Use email often to communicate especially out of state clients!
I have some but I would like to get more. It seems to be a less invasive way to communicate with people.
Miss this post! Glad to see it back to the top! Don't know your situation but I remember you had a couple of seminars, is that something you might do again?
These are amazing tips and reads. Thank you to everyone.
Yes, I'm working on a few ideas. If there is something you'd like to see, please let me know.
New tip: How well do you know the people who could be referring you? People refer those who they know, like, and trust. Go out on a limb and invite a group of people to breakfast so they can get to know you (and each other) better. Some suggestions would be your deer processor, the local lease manager, owners of local archery shops. Who else can you think to invite? Post some suggestions below.
OK...my 2 cents. I've been in this business for 64 years part time and full time and never bought a PRINTED AD. All mouth to mouth and trade (sportsmens' shows). To me a show is worth a hundred times the cost of any type of advertising. But you have to plan them and prepare. I agree with all of the previous posts and here is a tip of my own. The point is to drive new business to your shop. So how do you get them wanting to go there? Adults will mostly have someone they were going to go to but it's that youngster tagging along with them I start training. At every show I have a supply of 3"x 3" pieces of tanned skin trimmings ( the kind you usually just throw away after you mount the animal) or a jar of feathers....teeth from coyotes, fox, etc. but there's a catch. I have business cards just for the kids. The face of the cards have colorful pictures of animals and birds along with my name, address, and phone and email address. On the back I have wording that says"This young sportsman is entitled to 10% off his or her first mount. I have an open line where I write his or her name on the card. I give them the choice of Fin..Fur..or feather to take home. The best part and I never discount the mother with her child is...... that, that usually, nagging kid will later mention "that nice Taxidermist" whenever the occasion arises to mention a taxidermist. I have done several 10% off mounts over the years and the kid grows up and keeps coming. Also change your business card design when ordering a new supply. I've had several people come in and pull a card out of their wallets that was 10 years or older they picked up at a show. Another way to get into the "higher-class" clients is to volunteer to do a presentation to the Rotary Club...Kiwanis Club, etc,. These groups are always looking for a guest speaker...fill their needs and hand the each a business card.Showing and explaining reproduction parts in today's taxidermy mounts. These things might take a bit of your time and imagination...but isn't time worth money. Volunteer to groups outside of your area.Dress as a businessman when you do these presentations and leave to camo home. Just my opinion...JL
JL, you're right. The more face to face and voice to voice conversations you can have, the more successful you'll be. As John C. Maxwell says "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." You're incorporating several great techniques - providing interaction and information, showing that you notice and care about their kids, and loose tracking by changing your business card design when you order new ones. All good stuff!
JL- awesome tips. Love this thread.