We’re finally back home (after an overnight stop in Chattanooga and a early morning drive to Florida) and it’s time to review the trip and update ya’ll on the final days.

Let’s start with a recap of our in-booth sales figures.  Day 1 saw 6 sales.  Day 2 generated 13.  And day 3 offered 12 more.

And while we didn’t reach our 40 cover goal, we still had 31 convention sales.  Even better, 21 of them went out the door, which means less time spent in the workshop boxing up product and shipping it out.

It also meant that we had less junk to take back to Florida with us!  With less baggage, we were able to see out the back window on the way home.

DAY 3 IMPRESSIONS

Wednesday (last day of the Expo) was actually kinda slow, with many funeral directors arriving later in the session to check out the expo before lunch and the Kentucky Digital Death Certificate explanation that followed.

Luckily, many of the people who promised to come back to order did, while others who had already ordered stopped back to say hello or drag another funeral director over to show off the new cover they’d selected.  A few of these new “converts” actually sold covers for us, just by their persuasive belief in our product.  It’s amazing how they retained most of the important points about features and benefits. 

Because it slacked off, I had the opportunity to visit with other vendors and do a few short interviews.  In the coming days, I’ll post videos with Spencer and Ryan from Hilltop.net, William from Custom Air Trays and Rob from Peaceful Valley Tributes.

CONVENTION WRAP-UP

Because this was our first Kentucky convention, I did not expect a warm welcome.  In fact, I really expected to do a lot of “fancy footwork” to get people interested in our product.  Fortunately, the folks in the Kentucky/Indiana/Ohio area are extremely receptive to new ideas and are very courteous.

My goal of 40 covers sold was based upon an expected attendance of 1200 funeral directors.  And while we spoke to many, many funeral directors, there’s no way we had interactions with even 600 of them.  In the business center of our Wingate by Wyndham hotel (where they let me use the copier for free!) I printed our convention special onto 300 of our brochures.  We’ve still got a handful of those left.

So a realistic assessment is that we had some interaction with no more than 300 funeral homes at the show.  Of those, we sold 31 covers, giving us about a 10% sell-through rate.

Is that good? 

Absolutely, considering that other forms of unsolicited sales, like direct mail or door-to-door, yield less than 2% on average.

Our average cover, with a 10% convention discount, goes for $202.50.  That means we generated over $6000 in sales during a 3-day show.  Here’s a breakdown of our expenses:

Of course, the sign and new display will be re-used at our next conventions, but I’ve included them here to create a more accurate picture of the full amount I had to pay to make this convention a success.

We generated $6000 in immediate sales, making this convention profitable, as I generally want ot make at least twice as much as we spend.  Do we have a 50% margin on our product?  Hardly, but I know that getting this product into funeral directors’ hands will mean more sales in the future, when their competitors and colleagues see our covers in person.

Interestingly, we’re one of the few companies that actually set such important goals and restrictions for our advertising.  I was surprised to learn that some other vendors don’t even track how many sales they get from each ad they run or don’t care how many direct orders they get at a convention.

But I run our little company on the idea that it has to make money to survive, which means I’m not going to tap my own savings or my partner’s savings to make it work. 

Our expenses for the NFDA Convention in Las Vegas last year were just over $4000 and we made $8000+ in sales.

For this year’s NFDA, we’ll save some money,  since the show is in our own backyard.  That means no rental car, hotel visits or entertainment expenses.  Absorbing the cost of the new display and a better sign means we’ve got more money to spend on other items.

I’ve already selected and paid for our booth at the 2008 NFDA Convention in Orlando this October.  Yes, it was expensive:  $2700 for a penninsula booth.  But the exposure and location are worth the price.

I’m setting a tentative goal of 100 in-booth sales for the 2008 NFDA Convention. 

Ambitious?  I certainly hope so.

Doable?  Just wait ’til you hear my amazing sales pitch!

Funny story:  our neighbor across the aisle at the KFDA show was William from Custom Air Trays.  He doesn’t own a funeral home or work for one, but by the end of the show he knew our speil word-for-word.  Heck, I think I might have been able to sell him one!

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