So last night I participated in my very first Customer Appreciation Day! I’ve been looking forward to this for a couple weeks now, and I’ve been quite excited! If you missed out on how I got this arrangement set up, click here to read about it.
To prepare for this event, the supplies that I needed were very minimal. From the dollar store I got a pack of pink 3×5 cards, a glass jar, and a packet of 10 pens (total $3). I borrowed a portable, fold-up table from a friend (I’m definitely investing in one of those!), and I took my table cloth from home. I also brought a few products, catalogs, and business cards.
I went to White House Black Market, which is a super gorgeous store! I’ve actually never shopped there, but it’s a wonderful place to get some very classy business attire and dress clothes.
The event that they had scheduled was held on Sunday from 3-6:00 PM. This was the first time they held a Customer Appreciation Day like this, but they did fairly well in advertising it. Along with some coupons they had mailed out to their VIP customers, they also gave them 10% off their purchase during the event. Most of the customers actually had appointments with one of the sales associates or a manager, so it was kind of like a personal shopping experience as well!
My objective for this event was simply to get leads. While I did bring some of my inventory, I had no expectation to actually sell anything. So I set up my table as I would with any vendor event so they could see some of the product, along with some catalogs that everyone could take home.
The managers also put together 15 gift bags for the VIP customers who had appointments. I’m not sure what all was in them, but they allowed me to add a catalog, business card, and a trial-size Satin Hands lotion.
They cleared out a section in the back of the store, right at the entrance of the dressing room. As each of the ladies walked by, either on their way to try something on, or as they were browsing nearby, I would let them know I was raffling off a $20 gift card and asked if they would like to enter the raffle.
After asking the first couple of people, I realized that they would look at my table and think that I was raffling off a $20 Mary Kay gift card, so I then would pick up the gift card as I asked them, so they could see it was from White House Black Market (The store name is a bit long, so I didn’t want to say that every time). I was quite excited that almost everyone wanted to!
As each person was writing down their information (I asked for name, number so I could call if they win, and an address so I could send them their prize), I would ask each one, “Have you ever tried Mary Kay products before?” I didn’t actually plan this out, but I immediately realized that that was a valuable question! Their answers gave me a lot of insight on how I should or should not follow up with them. Remember, my point of this event is leads, so if someone tells me, “Yes, I’ve tried them, but I’m allergic,” or, “Yes, but I didn’t particularly like them,” then those are people I will not waste time in contacting. They’re obviously not interested in my product (but of course they stay in the drawing for the gift card!). But many of them said things such as, “I used to,” or “No, I haven’t,” which indicated they were open to my business. A couple people said they used to use Mary Kay, but they no longer had a consultant (ding! ding! ding! We have a winner, folks!).
When they were done writing down their information, they would hand me their paper, I would hand them a catalog and thank them for entering. Before I put their paper in the jar, I would write a very quick note on it that would remind me of their answer later on, fold it in half and put it in the jar.
Some perks of doing an event like this includes yummy drinks and snacks! There were a few periods where there were no new customers in the store, so I took that time to rub elbows with the store managers, sales associates, and the other vendor who was set up next to me (who I exchanged catalogs with, since her Mary Kay rep was no longer in the business!). Another great perk was that they gave me three 25% off cards for their Friends and Family event!
This event went well enough that the managers said they plan on doing this once a month, and they’d like me to join them each time! Woo-hoo! So now I have a guaranteed event where I can easily get new leads. Not to mention I have four other stores who are interested in doing an event like this.
This weekend I’m going to randomly draw a name to send them their gift card, and also call the people who indicated some interest in Mary Kay.
Just a word of advice, don’t be this person….
The other vendor they had scheduled was over an hour late, and when she arrived she spent about 20 minutes getting her table set up, and she still had sample bags that she had to arrange. By the time she was all settled in and ready to talk to customers, I had already gotten the majority of my raffle entries, and most of the gift bags the managers were giving out were already gone.
She was a relatively new consultant, and I believe she did not have much training on how to run a vendor event. It didn’t seem as if she had a game plan, because as customers would walk by her table she would smile and say hello, and the customers would say hello back and continue shopping. She didn’t do, say, or have anything that would give the customers a reason to stop at her table.
I’m not adding in any of this to talk badly about this consultant, or her business. I just want to point out the importance of not only being on time, but being early, and having all of your supplies ready before you get there. Have a purpose and a plan on how to execute it. Even though I did this for Mary Kay, this can work for any direct sales company. It’s simply a service you’re providing a company (the gift card is tax deductible!), and you’ve got a great way to put your face and business in front of a new group of people.
I hope this can help you out! If you’ve ever done anything similar and have something to add, please let me know! If this is a new idea for you, and you try it out, I’d love to hear about it!