Show Sales Savvy

Show season is a terrific time to maximize the opportunity to market your farm and sell alpacas and breedings. There is one word that makes a big difference between the breeders whose efforts result in sales and those who do not. What is it? Initiative. Here are five ways to initiate a marketing or sales action that can turn prospects into buys.

1) Start early. Send an email to your database of customers, prospects, and referral sources, telling them that you will be at select shows and inviting them to attend and visit your booth. Give them the dates, and let them know about any special opportunities you might be offering, such as a show deal on select alpacas, an item in the silent auction, or a drawing at your booth. If possible, include a map to the show location. Do the same on your website, newsletters, and social media messages.

2) Initiate the conversation. When show visitors pass by your  booth, start a friendly conversation with them with a question such as, “What is your interest in alpacas?” or “What can I tell you about our alpacas?” Use open questions that will elicit a detailed response. Do not say, “Can I help you?” It’s too easy for them to say, “No, we’re just looking.” Once they respond, tell them just a little about your animals or the business before you ask other questions such as “How long have you been looking at alpacas?” or “Are you just getting into the industry or looking to enlarge your herd?”

Other times to initiate a conversation are waiting in line to go into the show ring, at the show exhibitor dinners and events, at the place you are volunteering for the show committee. Start the conversation with a fellow breeder, asking questions about plans for their breeding program, what they are looking to add to their herd, their most successful sales techniques, and how they track the effectiveness of their marketing activities. Learn all you can.

3) Capture names. Have a guest book open at your booth. Make sure yours is a sales tool, not just a place to gather names for your database. Beyond requesting the booth visitor’s name and contact information, have some brief check-off questions they can answer about their interest in alpacas, their stage of industry investigation, and their desire to be contacted for a ranch or farm visit. Be sure your guest book pages show your ranch or farm name and logo on each page. When you find booth visitors genuinely interested in alpacas, ask them to sign your guest book with a reason for them to do so.

Connie and Jeff Mullen of Chilipepper Alpacas, printed up 5X7″ notes to leave out at their booth when they knew it would be unoccupied for awhile. These notes indicate they are gone briefly, but would love to connect with the booth visitor, and have a place where they request brief contact information, so they can get back to booth visitor.

4) Initiate follow up. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, let me once again say, “The fortune is in the follow up!” Once back at the farm and unpacked, immediately go through your guest book, and divide signers into cold, warm, and definitely interested eligible prospects. Then initiate follow up with them, first with a call to learn more about their interest and invite them for a farm visit. Next send them information of value that relates to their interest and timing in the sales cycle. Next, follow-up again, by email or by phone. The more they know you are there following up regularly with valuable information, the more they will believe you will be there to support them as buyers. Follow-up is easy, low-cost, and separates you from the competition.

5) Stay late. After the blur of activities of a show, it is tempting to pack up and leave early. Taking the initiative to stay until the end can mean sales others who left will miss. Deb Powers, of Bella Vita Ranch, found staying late at a recent show meant starting conversation with a show booth visitor when she was tired, but she has the sales contract to prove that it was worth it.

Show sales savvy is something any breeder can have just by taking the initiative. When you practice these and other good show marketing techniques, the sales results will make you smile as much as that blue ribbon did!

For more, get Julie’s Special Report, Successful Marketing from Your Show or Event Booth.

Julie Wassom
“The Speaker Whose Message Means Business”
Marketing and Sales Speaker/Consultant/Author
Call me: 303-693-2306
Fax me: 303-617-6422
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