What works: 5 Key Factors to a Successful Booth

I have a friend, Bobbi, who is a Sr. Exec. Supervisor with Usborne Books and More who lives in a rural area.  She’s an amazing Usborne friend of mine and I talked to her about how she gets bookings from booth events.  She shared with me her 5 Key Factors to a Successful Booth.

Key Factor #1 – INVITE them into your booth.  You can’t sit down in a chair in the back of your booth.  Stand at the FRONT of your booth!

Ask them, “Have you seen Usborne Books before?”  Go on to say, “Usborne Books are books designed to make learning fun,” show them a book and hand it to the mom.  As you show them the book, say, “I have two booth specials today: Buy 5 get one free OR if you book a home show from the booth today, I can give you an extra $20 in books FREE!”

Key Factor #2  Be like a butterfly at a booth.  Nobody wants to be smothered with tons of information and they want time to shop.  So, you flutter in….say something…..flitter out…..flutter in…..say something….flitter out……let them have a chance to look at the books and fall in love with them just like you did!  If they’ve looked at something, you can show another favorite, or ask if they have a subject they’re looking for, etc.  This is all in about three to four minutes.

Key Factor #3  Get their contact information and then look at it before they leave.  Ask if they would like to be entered for a drawing for $50 in FREE BOOKS – no drawing box – fill out this survey on a clipboard.  Have several clipboards available.  Then go talk to someone else.  It’s ideal if you have another person working the booth with you.  Look at their survey and grab your calendar and a hostess packet if you see they’d like to schedule a home show.  “Awesome, you’re interested in hosting a home show, let’s get it scheduled!  I’m so excited!”  Open up your calendar – show them your available dates and ask which will work for you?

Have they marked “Maybe”…..that really means “talk me into it,” according to Bobbi, so she always says:  “You marked maybe, I was just wondering…what is your ‘maybe’?”  They’ll have lots of different reasons.

“I don’t have my calendar with me.”  I just grab my calendar, let’s pick a tentative date or a guesstimate.  We’ll get you on the calendar so you can take the hostess packet home tonight.  I can set up your e-show the first of the week and I’ll call you to make sure that date is going to work for you.

“My house is too small”  That’s okay – it’s nice to be all cozy and looking at the books.  Excitement is contagious.  Everyone is going to get excited.  5 to 7 people is a great sized party and most houses can fit that.  If you have more, you’ll have an amazing party and folks can sit around on the floor.

“I don’t have enough friends”  If you personally invite all the people you know and the friends you talk to all the time, you’ll do fine and still get 5 to 7 people to the show and we also do e-shows, so you can invite the people who are too far away to attend and that will help with sales.

“I am not any good/never do these things.”  Use empathy – I know how you feel.  That has happened to me before.  But I have learned how to have a good party and if you do the things I coach you to do, you’ll have a good party and you’ll get free books.  It will be okay.

“I have to ask my husband”  Use tentative date or “Fake” date, sometimes she says “fake” to get them to book without the pressure of a date on the calendar – Let’s pick a fake date and if that doesn’t work for you or his schedule, we’ll switch it.
The biggest thing is to find a HAPPY solution.

When they aren’t so scared, they get excited!

Key Factor #4 GET it on the calendar that day.  If they are hemming and hawing, I know they are thinking and I’ll keep asking.  If they stop hemming and hawing then I can just drop it.

If you can book it today, I won’t have to go to the Post Office and get happy meals for my kids and all that and you can get your extra $20 in free books.

KEEP IT SIMPLE at a booth.  Don’t worry about all the details.  At a booth, you have to be quicker and just drop in little pieces of information.  If they give you five minutes, it’s a LOT of time.  Do things quickly and simply – not EVERY detail.  Don’t get into all the specials and things – tell them you can go over all that later.  Give them “You get $20 extra at the booth” and if they want to hear more, you tell them just the monthly special and no more!

Now it’s on the calendar.  Whoo hoo!

Next….hostess coach.  Do a little AT THE BOOTH and VERY QUICKLY!  I pull out the Usborne party checklist – or hostess guide one – here’s how you can have an awesome party.  Just these 6 things.

  1. Invite 40 or more guests
  2. Deliver invitations
  3. Evites
  4. Email me your guest list and phone numbers and I’ll do your reminder calls for you
  5. Do all 5 Hostess Challenges (date scheduled, have guest list a week prior to party, wish list complete 7 days before party, Have $85 in outside orders, Have 8+ guests at your party)  $5 in free books for each of those (hostess books)
  6. Invitations- Time, Date, circle my information and send them on their way

Don’t let this take more than five minutes.  Everyone else is waiting on them and they want to GO.

What do you do with Maybes?  Follow up with them within 48 hours.  The longer you wait, the less excited they’ll be and the less they’ll remember how excited they were!

NOTE: You’re going to have more cancellations from booths than from home shows.  You don’t have a lot of connection time with you.  Five minutes versus 90+ minutes.  And previous hostess is usually asking about the next shows.  Keep on top of them and keep them excited.

Booth hostess coaching – the Monday after a weekend booth – do follow up calls and  hostess coaching.  Set up their e-show – call and at least leave a message about setting up the e-show.  Confirm their date.  Express how excited you are for their show!  Remind them to send your their guest list so you can do the reminder calls.

Same Day – set up postcards for them – Bobbi has one about attendance that is critical for a good show (look for it under the message forums under Jill Cox for the text), another one says “I’m watching for your guest list.”  She also has a “help wanted” postcard and one that is a “your party is coming up” to remind them of any last minute things to get done.

A week later (depending on how far out they’re booked) – send the first postcard in the mail and do that every week until they’ve all been sent.  Bobbi says the mail gets noticed differently than an e-mail or a phone call.

Ask them if it’s best to get ahold of them by email or phone, so you’ll know.  (Side note from Beth: Now, it could be texting.)

Recruiting – if you’re getting lots of bookings at your booths, you’re going to have recruits and sales, too.  You’re going to have to book their kickoff show, anyway – so book a show with anyone who is even thinking about this as  a business.  You can call it their “decider show.”

To review: Five things that are important to keep in mind:

  1. Invite them in
  2. Be a butterfly
  3. Ask everyone and get their information  (handing them something is “throw this away for me please”)
  4. Get the booking right there or you’ll be playing phone tag forever to get the date
  5. Keep Things SIMPLE

Not sure what to put in their smaller Hostess packet?

  • recruiting Flier
  • 2 order forms
  • catalog (Beth sidenote: 1 full and 1 mini)
  • invitations (if you have them send, 30; if you send, 5 for handing out in person)
  • Use old catalogs for booth events since there is a higher cancellation rate – add in a mini catalog for new titles OR use an old catalog and write their show info on the cover, circle your contact info – tell them “I’m out of everything right now.  But we’ll be in touch for everything”
  • don’t include the monthly fliers – just bring them to the show or mail them if the show holds

This was a great interview and I want to thank Bobbie for sharing with us about what works for her at a booth.  I’d love to hear your ideas as well.  Please send me your comments!


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