The 2009 IFDF Expo and Conference was easy for our company since we operate in Florida.  The show, held at the World Golf Village just outside of St. Augustine, started on Thursday, June 11th and ended, for me, on Friday, June 12th.

My compensation for presenting two seminars was a free booth space.  The 8′ x 10′ space would normally have cost me $375, so I was happy for the trade-off.

Here’s how our expenses stacked up:

FUEL:           $   40
LODGING:      102
MEALS:             65
MISC.:                35
———————–
TOTAL:   $ 242

Had I paid for the booth, we would have incurred $617 in costs, making our pre-show goal, calculated at $50 per cover sold, 12 covers.  Interestingly, we sold 11.

The show was sparsely attended, as far as I could tell.  There were quite a few people missing from previous years, but whether they were kept away by the economy or the location, I can’t say.

Still, we only sold to 2 new funeral homes.  Everyone else was either ordering to replace covers they bought from us at previous shows or getting covers for cots that had not been draped with one of our georgeous cot covers yet.

So was it a good show for us?  Not surprisingly, the answer is both YES and NO.

First, the negative.  I learned that by the time we’re attending a show for the third time, we’ve already exhausted the audience of new funeral homes that attend.  If we sell items on our third attempt, it will be reorders or orders for a new product.  That means we’ve got to keep developing new products and having those ready for funeral directors to buy.

And why not?  We obviously sell a good product – I know that because funeral directors constantly tell us how much they like them – and people now trust us.  In fact, I was excited to see how many of my past customers hang around the booth and even ask “what’s new?”

The positive part is that seeing funeral directors for a third time reassures them that our company is for real and will be hanging around for many years to come.  In turn, that helps clients when they decide who to give their money to.  It’s a trust issue, and I’m glad that we’ve been building that trust so effectively.

So we’re working on getting our dressing table skirts shipped.  We’ve prototyped it, and it works.  But now we have to figure out how to make them in bulk.  We’ve got four orders already, so getting them out within the next few weeks is a big concern.

We’re also working on a casket cover that funeral homes can use for long distance travel or for in-town transport when they want to cover a casket with something prettier than a moving pad.  They won’t be anywhere near as cheap as one of those grimy moving pad covers, but we think there’s a market for them.

In the meantime, we’re planning our next convention, which is the 2009 KFDA show in Louisville next week.  I will not be attending that show.  Instead, I’m sending two of my employees.  Here’s hoping they sell a whole bunch of cot covers!

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