I’ve been posting a lot less here because we’re busy preparing for the 2008 Independent Funeral Directors of Florida Convention and Expo.

We had a successful convention last year, as evidenced in these posts:

Florida Convention Time!
IFDF Convention 2007: Day 1
DAILY NAG: Make Eye Contact
IFDF Convention: Day 2
Welcome Our Newest Readers: IFDF Members & Exhibitors
IFDF Convention: 2007 Roundup
The Future of Final Embrace

Last year’s goal was 10 covers sold and we met it with 30 minutes to spare.  This year, we’ll try to sell 15 covers in the 5.5 hours of the convention.

Can we do it?  I figure our base of potential customers from this convention has grown, just as our national base of customers has blossomed.

You see, the last question I ask when taking an order is “How did you hear about our company or decide to buy a quilted cot cover?”

Until earlier this year, the most common response was “I did an Internet search for cot covers and you came up.”

Today, we’re hearing answers like:

“One of my competitors has one and I want to keep up with her.”
“I’ve seen them in the trade mags for a while and decided to try one out.”
“I knew there were quilted covers out there and just started searching.”
“I bought from another quilt company, but it’s time for a new one and I like yours better.”

It’s clear to me that we’ve finally advanced from our initial customer base (early adopters and Internet-savvy funeral directors) to a wider demographic.

Of course, it helps that we’ve aggressively marketed our product with ads and press releases.  Even more important, I made the decision to seek out wholesale companies (Kelco, Dodge, etc.) to resell our product to funeral directors who are more comfortable buying directly from a representative or catalog.

As for the IFDF, we were a new exhibitor last year, which may have encouraged a “wait and see” attitude among the attendees. 

Interestingly, “sticking it out” and exhibiting year after year and advertising consistently in trade magazines helps create a feeling that a product has staying power.  This year, I can say “we’ve been making quilted cot covers for five years,” which inspires trust in our company and product.

Even more, since showing at the 2007 NFDA in Vegas and reaching a deeper customer base, we’ve increased YTD sales by almost 50%.  Which means a $5000 month last year has brought in almost $7500 in sales this year.

If we can keep the math going, our 2008 NFDA sales total should top $12,000, unless of course our more-visible booth location and pre-convention push rockets us even higher.

But first things first:  the IFDF convention in Daytona is going to be our first public success of 2008.

Wish me luck!