Direct Sales: It’s Playing, Not The Game, That Matters

I lost count at the number of emails I got asking me what game we played in our booth. I’m actually planning on doing an entire call for my Marketing Mentor coaching group next month about Expos and Events. But for you, dear readers, I will reveal the game we played in our booth.

But here’s the thing. At different events, we played different games:

We played black jack.
We rolled giant dice and played craps.
We played “Where’s the Queen?” (like the shell game, but with cards)
We played bingo.

The booth theme was “casino night”. And it wasn’t the game we played that mattered, it was the fact that we engaged our audience in a unique way that allowed them to see we were about more than just our product and our comp plan.

The games were pretty short – so we weren’t spending more than a minute or so with each person. The games were also engaging. Participants had to participate and talk with us.

And that, dear readers, is what makes the difference. When people walk away from the booth, we’d slap the “I got lucky” sticker on them so that we knew they’d already played the game. But they were also advertising for us. So when someone asked “Hey, how’d you get that sticker?” people could say “I just played this really fun game over at that booth” and point in our general direction.

Woo hoo! They were driving traffic for us, advertising for us, and creating buzz for us. It was kind of an offline viral marketing technique.

But honestly, it didn’t matter which game we played, the results were the same. People were excited about what we offered, we got to talk with people for more than two seconds, and we were able to have a memorable cue for follow-up calls (“you played craps at our booth at the expo…”).

In big events, it’s hard to stand out, hard to be remarkable. It’s even more challenging when you have to compete with dozens of other direct sellers – even if they offer different products. People will likely only book one show, and you want it to be with you. You have to be very compelling. But that’s another post for another day.

So now you know my “secret game”. It’s no secret. It’s all in how you play the game, not what game you play.

© 2010 Lisa Robbin Young.


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Lisa Robbin Young is a certified direct sales marketing coach, teaching direct sellers to grow their business like a real business instead of an expensive hobby. Sign up for her free weekly ezine at


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