When you go to events and represent your credit union what is your strategy? Specifically, I’m talking about local events like Chamber Business Expos and the like.
I went to a tradeshow once and was walking down the center aisle. There were booths on both sides. Lots of chamber members were exhibiting, conversing, and networking. They had well-decorated booths and many of them sat comfortably behind their respective tabled between the pipe and drape booths of the expo.
But then there was Sam.
Sam was a rather tall, slender man, who was very outgoing. I knew that because he was engaged in a conversation with someone out in front of his booth. He was animated and talking with his hands. His head was on a swivel, constantly looking over the shoulder of the person he was speaking with. He’d look left, and then right, always trying to be sure not to miss a single person walking down the aisle.
See…Sam saw each person as an opportunity. An opportunity to give his contact information to them in the form of a card. I’m sure Sam thought “Heck, I’ve paid good money for this expo booth, and I need to get some leads!”
As I approached Sam’s booth, he broke conversation with the person he was speaking with and extended his hand with a huge smile, followed by a “Hello, I’m Sam, what’s your name?” My initial thought was, wow, he’s pleasant, then the look from the other person was clear. She was rather miffed as to why Sam just stopped speaking with her to talk to me.
As I progressed down the aisle, Sam wanted to be sure I didn’t pass his booth without getting his contact info, so when I shook his hand in passing, he offered me a business card. At this time I had already determined that Sam has a Website Agency. Sam was in the business of creating websites for companies. When he offered his card, I politely put my hand up and said: “I’m all set, but thanks”.
Sam responded with “You don’t want my card?” at which I replied with “Why would I want your card?”
Sam then stated, in a rather pleading way…”Surely you know someone who needs a website!”
This is when I stopped cold in my tracks, turned directly to Sam and pointed at the shirt I was wearing that clearly indicated I owned a website agency myself! I then pointed directly at the logo and said: “why would I want your card, my company does websites”.
What Sam missed here was a connection. His strategy was to focus on the numbers. At the time, I recall thinking that Sam appeared to be much more like a live human PEZ dispenser! If Sam had approached this situation differently, I think we could have found a way to partner together between our agencies. Instead, he chose this route, and his agency was out of business within 5 years, and I sold mine!
Think about the numbers strategy and how that appears to the public, for your credit union. What’s the goal of the event? Is it to collect cards? Give out cards? Give out promo items? Or is it much more about finding one really good referral partner or potential customer? Keep in mind with the approach to find one, often comes a few more because the strategy of going for just one works really well and is viewed by others as being much more caring.
Here’s to your success at your next credit union event!
Feel free to bring along some PEZ Dispenser and see who knows what they are!