Thursday, December 16, 2010

Making Connections at Car Shows

What is the point of attending a car show?  Is it merely to look at the beautiful cars or can you make some business contacts there?  If you own a business that specializes in various aspects of vehicles and especially specialty cars you could very well be looking at a gold mine in terms of potential business.  So how do you really go out and make some connections at the car shows?  

Many people who are looking at car shows as ways to make connections always ensure that they arrive looking good.  This does not mean you need to break out the suit and tie but you at least need to look nice and presentable.  This could be something as simple as a polo shirt or button up and a pair of slacks or nice jeans. You should not show up wearing cut off jeans and a tank top.

You should always make sure you bring along some business cards with you to hand out to prospects.  Car shows are full of people there with actual cars so this is where you should typically focus your time if possible.  These are the people you know you could help in some form or another.  People just walking around the car show may or may not have a car that you could help them with.  Save your time to make the most impact possible by working with the people with cars.

One idea that you should explore is consider having some coupons printed.  This could be something as simplistic as printing them on the back of a business card.  If you already have a large supply of business cards consider having a stamp made that has coupon information on it, this would allow you to put a stamp on a few business cards and still get your message across. This can be a much more affordable rate and still help you to ensure that you are able to catch people’s attention with a good deal.  

Additionally, you should always ensure that you are in a good mood.  There is nobody at the car show interested in talking to someone that is in a bad mood.  You should ensure that you are cheerful and optimistic when you approach people to help encourage them to talk to you.  If you are cranky or in a bad mood they are not going to want to talk to you, and will likely tune you out. 

It is very important to understand that as a rule you are not going to get business from everyone that you approach.  You are usually looking at a 10% return; this means if you are giving away 100 coupons, you can expect to get back 10 of them from customers.  The other 90 will generally be thrown away.  Keep your expectations realistic when you are trying to determine how effective your efforts have been.  

Your last consideration is do you really have something that car show people are going to be interested in?  If you are selling vinyl siding for example they are not likely to care what you have to offer.  However, if you have a detail shop, upholstery shop, glass shop or something similar you are likely to get some business if you take the time to plan ahead.  A bit of preplanning could result in some nice sales and very loyal customers. 

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