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It's hard not to say yes to exhibiting at a women's business event that focuses on dreaming up an idea, building a business, or scaling to the next level. It didn't hurt that 3,000 tickets were sold either. That's a huge opportunity to meet a lot of people who need my educational materials and services!
But it's costly. In fact, this particular show cost $3,000 for the booth. I remember when this event only cost $500 to exhibit. Those days are long over.
It's called Business Boutique, and it has happened in Nashville every fall for the last 4 years.
Business Boutique is a dreamt up concept of Dave Ramsey's. He has a speaker on his team named Christy Wright who has been growing her following and reputation over the last several years. Some of Dave's other in-house speakers are Rachel Cruze (his daughter) and Chris Hogan, who have also made names of themselves.
Funny thing? Christy used to coach my twins in soccer many years ago. She worked at the YMCA at that time, then later on she bought a horse farm. Long story short, she decided not to stick with the horse farm and somehow moved into working for Dave Ramsey's company, eventually becoming one of his speakers.
Video: Christy doing a cheer with my twin daughters' soccer team years ago.
I was intrigued when I found out the direction that Christy's career had taken, especially since I had started my own business and would need to participate in events like this.
After supporting the event for a couple of years, I was finally approved to exhibit. Apparently, service-based companies were not favored in the selection process in the past, but this year they opened it up to those of us who can help these ladies grow and scale their businesses.
Once I became official, it was time to plan how to run the booth to meet as many people as possible and have a way to follow up with them.
We decided to go with fun ribbons that you stick onto people's lanyards with funny sayings. It brought the ladies in to look through the choices we had, which made it easy to start a conversation. We also gave out pens and buttons with our logos and websites on them.
"Why are you here? What is your business about?"
Make eye contact, shake hands, introduce yourself, and say their name a time or two while you're at it.
Out of the ladies (and a few men) that I met, they were probably half service-based and half product-based entrepreneurs.
One thing we made sure to do was to send someone around to the other exhibitors to find out how they were marketing their businesses. Because they were exhibiting, it was hard for them to leave their stations and meet other more established, fellow-marketers.
Left to right: Laura Rike Sura, Sally Hendrick, Colin Yearwood, Susan Totman.
Once I got home with a stack of business cards and several sheets of paper with names, emails, and phone numbers, I started looking up everyone's websites.
Wow! The opportunity in front of me is huge! You know why I know? There were only two websites out of the dozens of websites I reviewed that have all their Google and Facebook tracking in place.
Just two! That shows me that they need my education and services to properly market their businesses online.
Now that I know who I'm dealing with, it's time to connect with every person who left their information with me. Sure, I'll send out a blanket email asking them to connect with my team via our online calendar, but more importantly, we plan to reach out to every person individually as well with a personal message.
If you think that your blanket email is enough, I can guarantee you that you're leaving a lot of opportunities on the table to build real relationships.
Real relationship building turns into getting more paying customers.
Just because this event is full of my ideal clients does not mean that it's full of yours. If you provide services or products to a particular industry, seek out their industry events.
For example, my husband's ideal clients are typically in the railroad industry or are connected to it somehow. The people that buy his products are usually executives of these companies, so it's really important for him to not only attend and exhibit at the industry trade shows, he needs to make sure he connects with the right people at those shows.
For me, anyone at Business Boutique would be an ideal client for me at some point. If they're serious about starting a business, and they are currently dreaming up an idea, they may not need me yet, but eventually they will. When this happens, I typically send them to my Life Purpose Challenge, which helps them prioritize their values and deep desires in life, so that the business they build from scratch is truly something they love.
Starting, growing, and scaling a business takes time. Give yourself grace throughout the process. This isn't going to happen overnight. Most people come to me thinking they are ready to start spending money on advertising to bring in leads and sales, and usually they are not ready. That's why I walk them through the process one step at a time. I want them to be successful, and being prepared is half the battle.
If you have any questions about this process of growing and scaling your business, please reach out. I've been there myself and am still learning new tricks every day.
Sally Hendrick has been dotting i's and crossing t's for quite some time in the analytical space of digital marketing. She's here to help you move past the overwhelm with marketing and advertising your digital offers.