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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » PTA Association convention (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

magicgraham
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Mesa Arizona
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I have the opportunity to have an exhibit at a PTA Association convention anyone done anything like this . I would use this opportunity to pitch a new fundraising show program. If you have done such an event I would be curious to know how you handled it?

My immediate thought are have my lap top there on wifi and allow them to enter there information via my website. have plenty of business cards, postcards bios etc and also thought about giving away a small magic kit with my logo and promo stuff also in the kit

Any other advice would be much appreciated
magicofCurtis
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Los Angeles
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If you are in the market for school programs this should be great for you.

Have a magic hat where they can drop their business card or piece of paper with their info in it to win a magic kit, better yet have three magic kits. So people will be more incline to enter since their odds are higher of winning one of the three kits. Get the large magic kits so they pop out to the eye. Also, give each kit away at certain times of the day. So people will come back to your booth, one at 2, 4 and 6 or something on that order.

Be friendly and welcoming to the visitors at your booth. Ask questions about their particular programs and what they are looking to achieve. Do a quick trick or two for the interest parties/groups.

Best of luck Magicgraham! Smile
Blair Marshall
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Montreal, Canada
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Curtis mentions several good points, here are a few thoughts I would offer.

Don't sit behind your table/booth, push the table back and stand in front of it ready to greet the folks and expand your "working/booth" area.

As a note a lot of the folks attending a PTA event (at least here) are private individuals and will not have a business card, they are usually volunteers, I would say 90% women, and may not give out their information readily.

So you have to work around this, door prizes, something to take home for their kids will bring you in names.

A larger screen, either seperate from your laptop, or attached to your laptop, should be showing excerpts from your show (or shows) on a continuous basis, or if you do not have a good video then perhaps a photo montage, you want folks to stop (even for a moment) so you can get to them and open up a conversation. Keep the conversations brief, ask for their info so you can send them more details, and move on (politely), you may only have a half hour to meet and greet as many of the folks as you can.

Have some flyers in your hand at all times to pass out to those who may not have the time to stop and look over your materials. Remember folks that attend these year after year often know before the exhibit room opens which booth they want to visit and they head right there (they may have limited visiting time). Promote the fact that you will be there. Send a note to the PTA's of schools that you may think are attending and let them know you will be there, offer a promotional item to them if they stop by, introduce themselves and say hi.

Find out from the organisers, or perhaps from another booth, what the high times for traffic are. I have one show that I do that the folks pass by before their morning sessions start, again around coffee break, and then MAYBE at lunch. And then that's it!! So you have to be ready for those times ie. no lunch break (eating at your booth), no bathroom break, at those peak times.

Make sure folks can spot your location, one of those new 72" roll-up banners are good, but nothing too large/wide, you may not have the space, and I have seen a few show up where the "booth" is the length of a table and their backdrop just would not fit.

Anyway just a few thoughts on exhibiting from my experiences.

Blair
Robin4Kids
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Lower Alabama
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I have worked many tradeshows and conferences as a vendor in another industry. I have had someone performing magic in my booth before to draw traffic and it was quite effective. The one issue you may want to think about is if you are performing, you may miss an opportunity to talk with an interested prospect or answer their questions if they think they would be interupting you. It would be ideal to have someone else working with you to field any questions and handout information.

Also it would be advantageous for you to make it very clear in your booth graphics/signage that you are offering a fundraising opportunity and not just looking to get hired for a show at their school. Don't assume that just because you are dealing with educators (or anybody else for that matter) that they will figure out that you can make money for them.

The other tips mentioned before are all good ideas. I don't know how many exhibitors I have seen through the years that would sit on their butt and wait for people to come to them and then leave at the end of the event thinking what a bad trade show it was!!!
Dannydoyle
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This is going to be WAY more difficult than yiu think. Good luck.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Robin4Kids
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One of the biggest problems I had working as an exhibitor at education conferences was that it seemed like most of the people I talked with, or tried to sell, would not have the authority to buy! Of course they would act very interested, ask questions and let me go through my whole spiel... But when it came time to close, they would say "You would have to talk to Mr. So&So at my school about that. I don't have the authority!"
arthur stead
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When I played soccer, I hit
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Curtis, Blair and Robin ... GREAT ideas and advice! And Danny ... you may be right. I'll simply add that no one else at this kind of convention is likely to have music playing, so why not bring a boom box or sound system to play some tunes and draw a crowd? (Although obviously not too loud).

Lots of luck to you, Graham. Hope the experience exceeds your expectations.

Arthur Stead
http://www.arthurstead.com
Arthur Stead
royalty-free music and interactive routines
www.arthurstead.com
TomBoleware
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Hattiesburg, Ms
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Quote:
On 2013-05-14 13:38, Robin4Kids wrote:
One of the biggest problems I had working as an exhibitor at education conferences was that it seemed like most of the people I talked with, or tried to sell, would not have the authority to buy! Of course they would act very interested, ask questions and let me go through my whole spiel... But when it came time to close, they would say "You would have to talk to Mr. So&So at my school about that. I don't have the authority!"


Not a waste because I bet you were still able to use the teachers name once you did talk to the principal/buyer. "Ms Jones liked this and thought you would too." Smile

Names are important.

To add to what Blair said about some are fearful of giving out their name, I agree. But most are not afraid to write their name and slip it inside a closed box. So if you do collect names, be sure to use a sealed box, or at least keep the container so others can't see in it.

Gook Luck with it.
Tom
The Daycare Magician Book
https://www.vanishingincmagic.com/amazekids/the-daycare-magician/

When you come to the point where you have no need to impress anybody, your freedom will begin.
Mindpro
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Eternal Order
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Teacher's are not the attendees at a PTA Conference. These are parent volunteers, many of who do not want to be there, have no authority, and will admittedly have no ideas what they're doing.

I am a guest speaker at these events nationwide. They are not there to "see a magic trick" and keep in mind as I've discussed here numerous times the education system's perception of magicians and their tactics, and the memo I had partially included here previously.

It is important that you serve the needs of the attendees, not your perspectives. Most just come through the expo portion to "check it out" and "to gather information". Very few things are or can be booked onsite. Most will not allow music or any kind of performance at the exhibitor booth. They did away with showcases years ago due to impartialability. Study and know the rules and policies. Many rules regarding signage too.

Be quick, get your info into their hands, and do not try to "sell" them. Remember the expo is more than anything a money making entity to the event. Attendees, while they may stop by the expo floor, are not there for the expo bit the ed sessions and to represent their school in policies and voting politically. This is often why expos are usually not mandatory to visit and are crammed in between ed sessions and to and from lunch.

While they are similar to other "trade show" they are also quite different and unique. Be careful who's advice you accept as not all other kind of vendor events are the same as these educational events.
socalmagic
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Los Angeles
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I have worked the California State PTA convention several times with varying degrees of success. I have also been hired by companies to perform at trade shows. The key, as it is with all sales presentations, is to qualify your leads quickly. Don't bother saying, "Hi, how are you?" You've got just a few seconds to capture their attention and qualify them. Develop a question that will engage the prospect that would be interested in your offer, and at the same time screen out people that are not leads. You also want to use a give-away that only your prospect has a use for, such as an information resource on fundraising (like a book or pamphlet that you write). If you give away something that everyone wants, then your just going to get a bunch of unqualified prospects that will take more time to sift through after the show.

At the state PTA convention, I would screen out everybody that was outside my area by including a sign in my booth that says "Serving Southern California". In addition, I would ask the question, "Is your school interested in receiving two free assemblies?" This targets the person that I am looking for. If I wasn't talking to someone who scheduled assemblies or influenced the selection of assemblies, then they would normally not be interested in talking with me. If they were a qualified lead, then I would make a short 30 second pitch on the show, and then ask them to fill-out the form to be in the drawing to win the assemblies.

At my first convention, I performed just as I would at a trade show, but I found that I had too many qualified leads to talk with. I strongly reccomend making a good connection with the people you talk with, capturing their information, and following-up. The convention that I went to had a card reader that attendee's would hand you, and you can swipe it and it had their info on the card. However, many people would put the school's phone number and a generic email. I prefer to have their home and/or cell number with their personal email address so I can follow-up with them.

I highly reccomend reading the book Geurilla Trade Show Selling. It greatly increased the effectiveness of my exhibiting. The California State PTA convention is very expensive (over $1,000), so I want to make sure that my money is well-spent. I have included a pic of my display.

Click here to view attached image.
Blair Marshall
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Montreal, Canada
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Love the booth, most of the events I've exhibited at were more like "tables" ie. your space was 6' long and room for 2 chairs behind.

One thought is that it's nice if you are thinking of doing several events like this to invest in exhibit equipment that can be sized to the events restrictions.

B
socalmagic
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Los Angeles
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Thanks Blair, I also exhibit at smaller vendor faire's, and have a retractable banner. You can see what it looks like here: http://inspiredgraphics.net/?p=302.
TomBoleware
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Hattiesburg, Ms
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Excellent set up Brock. Very Nice.

Tom
The Daycare Magician Book
https://www.vanishingincmagic.com/amazekids/the-daycare-magician/

When you come to the point where you have no need to impress anybody, your freedom will begin.
magicgraham
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Mesa Arizona
138 Posts

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Some amazing advice , thank you. I worked as a pitchman at trade shows for many years so not the importance of pulling customers in and the importance of good looking flash for your booth

The price is right for this event about half the cost of a show

Brock that's a great banner advert
Dannydoyle
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Eternal Order
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Thing is You may close very little at the show. Follow up is going to be key.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Blair Marshall
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Montreal, Canada
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I think a good follow-up might be an ad in the PTA magazine which reaches the area that the exhibit is expected to draw from. They've met you now they see your name again.

Blair
magicgraham
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Mesa Arizona
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I agree Blair just wrote that on white board to ensure I do also a good post card campaign soon after and then some well timed phone calls
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