Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dear Ferfie,

This week I thought it would be fitting to address a question that was brought up in a regional training event at which I was a speaker recently. It caused quite a commotion in the room, I'm sure you can imagine all the murmuring and whispering. "Gasp! I'd never do that..." "Oh, that's happened to me before, now I want nothing to do with that company..." blah blah blah. The question was:

"As a vendor (for a craft fair or even online) do we really have to send the door prize we offered or can we just collect the leads and pretend there was no winner?"

This was a very sincere question and trust me, plenty of consultants had their fair share of 2 cents to add. I'd like to think that this question should never have a need to be asked, but let's face it - it's a dern good question considering one technically could just collect the leads and nobody would ever know, right? Well... there's a great deal of ethics to consider. Okay, first things first. If you're offering a raffle/door prize, you are making the commitment to give this item away. Done. If your intention is to hoard names for your list by using the bait & switch method, then I seriously question your integrity. That puts a huge damper on you AND your business. If you're not going to give the prize, don't offer the prize.

"But Ferf, I want to add to my list and don't have a whole lot of money to shell out for prizes." No problem. People will sign up for your mailing list if they're made aware of the VALUE you can share. They're not going to sign up if they assume their inbox is going to be inundated with "here's my special... shop with me 24/7... I'd like you to host... can you help a girl out by placing an order... by the way did you know I'm in business?" And I'm going to tell you something right now, because so many reps have been doing this with their mailing lists, the passers-by at these vending events assume you are no different. Make sure that they know they will be getting articles of interest, tips, ideas, special VIP savings only available to people on your list... be creative with it. They need to know that you do not want to send them anything they do not want, and they can opt out at any time. If this is not made clear, they won't share their information. Respect their privacy.

Another great way to get people's information at these events is to have them fill out a slip (essentially like a door prize form) stating that they've received one of your catalogs. As long as they're willing to fill out this form, they can take a catalog home with them that day. If not, then sorry no catalog. Why waste the expense of investing in and passing out 50 catalogs that are going to end up who knows where?? If you're hoping that those catalogs will end up at an office somewhere, that's really sweet but think about all the catalogs & brochures you've received from events like this. Where are they right now? Trash? Under a pile of other catalogs, papers & brochures somewhere? Thought so. On the slip you're having them fill out, they have the opportunity to be alerted if items go on special. This is when you can send them your newsletter/info about specials because you DO have their permission. This is called operating your business with authenticity and most importantly INTEGRITY.

Let's just say, for the sake of example, that you end up offering a prize but don't actually send it and someone finds out somehow. Ouch! That's integrity? Not so sure that person will be doing business with you anytime soon, and I'm certain that person won't be sending referrals your way either. "People more attention pay to what you do than what you say." If you're operating on integrity, you wouldn't even consider making empty promises. Sure, life happens and there might be a delay in getting the prize out the door. Understandable, we're only human. :)

Conclusion? Operate on integrity, give value - and for Pete's sake, send the prize you offered, it's only right.


© 2008 Jennifer Stoll The Stand Up Coach All Rights Reserved

Please do, as long as the following blurb is included in its entirety: Entrepreneur Jennifer Stoll, The Stand Up Coach, is Founder and Editor of “Info Buffet” a free ezine for professionals in the Direct Sales/Party Plan industry. An author, speaker, and success coach, Jennifer provides principle based resources in a fun & humorous way. If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, make more money and have more fun in your business then visit Jennifer at

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