In response to the post, 2008 IFDF Convention a Success!, Robin Richter shared:

ROBIN:  Congratulations on another successful convention! The booth looks great and I’m sure it did draw people over.

Thanks for the kind words.  I think we’ve finally hit upon the right look for our booth.

ROBIN:  Do you think the smaller attendence is related to our economy? I know people continue to die, but do funeral directors end up cutting back to accommodate what people are willing/able to pay?

The funeral industry has been seeing a recession, in terms of what people are willing to spend, for the past several years, so any current economic trend is probably not a huge issue.  As for fuel costs, I think few directors figure that into their plans for a once-a-year trip.

On a positive note for our business, we saw more orders for our products, which means either directors see our cot covers as a necessity (therefore, relatively recession-proof) or a weakened economy isn’t having as much effect on the funeral industry as expected.

ROBIN:  Did you have enough or the properly trained salespeople to give you the freedom to mingle and make other contacts to further your business?

I made a conscious effort to be front and center in my booth this year.  In fact, I’m hoping to find someone who can do interviews and some mingling on behalf of the blog at both of the next conventions.

As for NFDA Convention staffing, I don’t think I’ll be able to fit more than two or three people in the booth and be comfortable, so I’ve begun choosing my crew.  I’ve hired a lovely young professional spokesmodel to anchor one day of the event (not cheap, but she’s very attractive and should draw attention).  She’s practiced at talking about products at conventions and is married to a funeral director friend of mine. 

Truth be told, I felt very comfortable in my booth at IFDF.  And while I also like interviewing people and making contacts, I think I belong more in the booth than outside. 

We’ll see if I can’t find a suitable interviewer for the future.

ROBIN:  Did you feel you were able to mingle with the other exhibitors as much as you did during the convention in October?

I got to chat with the exhibitors who were stationed around us.  I also walked the floor before the show and offered assistance.

And now that I know how we’ll set up our booth at the next two conventions, I’m going to get all our stuff into the booth and send my assistant onto the floor while I assemble the display.  My assistant will carry a bag with frequently-needed items (scissors, tape, needle/thread, etc.) and offer assistance.  I’ll also have him/her drop off a “Final Embrace Welcome Letter” telling exhibitors about our offering of free, frequently-forgotten items and our great blog.

I’m hoping to use the Kentucky convention to turn some vendors on to the things we’re planning for the NFDA show in October.

I’m finalizing plans for Kentucky now, so I’ll share more in the coming days.