Why give freebies?
We have all seen freebies at trade shows and we have all probably seen the person that goes from booth to booth collecting as much of it as possible. There is always someone that only goes to get the free stuff, but then again there are also people that go there to learn about new products or services. These people may be genuinely interested in what you have to say. Even if they are, there must be an element of what is in it for them (we call them WIFM - pronounced Whiffem – What Is In It For Me). Perhaps the type of freebie you offer should be in the form of a free consultation for a limited time, say one-half hour. Or you may want to give out special premiums to potential new clients. The problem is that you need to weed through the potential business and those that just want something for nothing.
Instead of giving away freebies at the trade show desk, you could give attendees a business card that can be used to redeem their freebie. This will drive the customer traffic back to where you would like them to be. For example, a car dealership I did some work for always went to every trade show in the area. They had great give-away items but found that not many people came back to the dealership for a test drive leading to an eventual purchase. To rectify the problem, they gave a business card with the event name, the gift to be given and an explanation that in order to claim the gift, you needed to go to their store and do a test drive. By the way, the gift, was a nice set of steak knives in a butchers block. The result was that 20% of the people attending the show actually went to the dealership and did a test drive and out of that they sold 25 cars; a much better return for their freebies!
Freebies do not need to be expensive steak knives sets; they can simply be pens with your name on it. Whatever you choose, make sure it is something that can be used and not thrown away. Do not pick a silly cheap toy that will break after one or two uses. Gift certificates may work better than freebies.
Bette Daoust, Ph. D. has been networking with others since leaving high school years ago. Realizing that no one really cared about what she did in life unless she had someone to tell and excite. She decided to find the best ways to get people’s attention, be creative in how she presented herself and products, getting people to know who she was, and being visible all the time. Her friends and colleagues have often dubbed her the “Networking Queen”. Blueprint for Networking Success: 150 ways to promote yourself is the first in this series. Blueprint for Branding Yourself: Another 150 ways to promote yourself is planned for release in 2005. For more information visit http://www.BlueprintBooks.com