Instructor-to-Instructor: 5 Lessons Learned from the Buddy Walk

By Advanced Signing Time Instructor Megan McWilliams

1. Rachel STILL gives me goose bumps.

I didn’t even have to SEE Rachel before I starting getting goose bumps! I heard her sing the first note during her sound check and was excited to know that she had arrived!!

2. Holding inventory can be beneficial when the Signing Time Foundation calls you! AND keeping your Instructor Profile up-to-date is crucial.

Rachel told me that she searched a 200-mile radius from Sioux Falls trying to find an Instructor willing to sell product at the Sioux Falls, SD Buddy Walk. She then stated that when she saw that my Instructor Profile said “Looking for Signing Time products? Contact me to place your order today! I have many items already in stock,” she knew I would want the opportunity to set up a product booth at the Buddy Walk. With a little rearranging of my schedule, I was able to make the trip with about 36 hours notice.

3. Flop events prepare you for the BIG events!

To be honest, I hadn’t yet had a great event. I set up a booth at the local holiday show in November 2011, I had a booth at an Autism Walk in 2011, and most recently I had a booth at a craft fair at my local mall. However, I had prepped like crazy before each event and when the day came to set up a booth at a Rachel Concert for a Buddy Walk I was prepared! I had banners, flyers, receipt books, order forms, and most importantly, inventory with price tags on it. I had only added the price tags to my inventory before the booth at my local mall this past June. These price tags not only allowed my mom to help me easily sell products, it also helped me keep my cool when asked the prices of the items. Signing Time has at least 100 unique items, from DVDs to t-shirts to the LONG list of unique bundles, and I personally sometimes get flustered when I cannot spout off a price to my customer. So my lesson learned here is not only that previous events help prepare you for future events but also that price tags are a must!

4. Take the time to listen.

During my previous events I have also felt like I have scared some customers away by providing them with TOO much information upfront. One of my main goals for the Buddy Walk was to keep my mouth closed and really listen to what the customer is telling me. One of the most talkative customers the day of the Buddy Walk ended up purchasing 8 DVDs. What a great relationship starter I have with her and I will be able to approach her in the future about additional purchases. simply because I took the time to really listen to her story.

5.  Follow up, follow up, follow up.

Since the Buddy Walk, I have almost doubled my gross sales through a follow up contact I made with the South Dakota School for the Deaf. As the title of this section states: “Follow up!”

So here is the breakdown of my event:

Less than 36 hours notice……………………………………………………………………..SCARY

My mom at my side…………………………………………………………………………AWESOME

Rachel’s full support…………………………………………………………………….WONDERFUL

12-hour round trip………………………………………………………………………………..QUICK

Made great connections, great sales, and made it home

to see the HUSKERS kick off………………………………………………..PRICELESS

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