Mahina's Journey - Portland Golf Show
How am I going to live today in order to create the tomorrow I'm committed to? Anthony Robbins
So, when I was reading my latest edition of the Northwest Pacific Golfer, and saw the ad for the upcoming Portland Golf Show at the Convention Center, it occurered to me that maybe we should attend as vendors this year. Usually, I and/or Kristen attend the show to solicit venders for our Annual Golf Tournament. In the past, we have not gotten much support but maybe as a vendor it would be a better outreach.
I contacted Simeon at Varsity Sports Marketing to inquire about booth space and if they allowed charitable organizations to participate for a discount. Simeon thought they could accommodate us, but he would have to check and see how if other non-profit groups had already signed up. He offered us a 10% discount on the regular rate. While waiting for Simeon to get back to us, called David Stead (GM) at Langdon Farms and asked him if they would be attending the PGS. I thought maybe would could share a booth. I figured that we would make a good team, since we hold our tournament there and I am a TPC Farm Card Member. David thought that would be a great idea. David offered to contact Simeon too and get a quote for the bigger booth.
Simeon gave me a quote of $995 for a half space booth. A couple days later, I heard from David and he could upgrade his booth for an additional $705. All we would need to pay for sharing the booth would be the $705. Excellent! That would work out just fine. Thanks David.
Kristen and I both thought this would be a great opportunity to talk to men and get our message out. We were excited and started to put together ideas on how best to present MYCF. We had past promotion materials, banners and would have 2012 tournament brochures printed. We figured that we could sell “Helicopter golf ball drop” raffle tickets too, plus we could offer an early registration price of $100 vs. the $125 rate.
Once we decided to move forward, we knew we would have to act fast and get as many ideas as we could formulate and then put all the pieces together. I had already booked my road trip plans, to travel down to California, and knew that my return home would be close to the shows starting date. That meant that Kristen would have to get most of the items together. But, of course, I knew that she could do it, she is a pro at organizing these things.
Once home, I looked over the stuff that we had gathered to take with us to the PGS. We were taking the “Hole in One” poster and easel, golf balls, tees, PC wristband, buttons, pins and brochures. I packed a couple of MYCF Polo shirts from our previous tournament, to display. Kristen had ordered a new MYCF banner, just for this event. I went at picked it up from Fast Signs, in Tigard. Kristen was busy organizing all the other things that we needed to take with us. I had contacted a few buddies to see if they would be able to help us out during the PGS. Jeremy Jones would be helping the first day and the last that day (Fri. & Sunday). Clay Morgan and Dave Mahar would be splitting shifts on Saturday. The show hours were: Friday 11-6pm, Saturday 9-6pm, Sunday 9-4pm. We were set to go!
February 10, 2012 - Friday morning, the first day of the show I had Jeremy meet us at our house around 9:30am. Kristen and I loaded up her 1999 Isuzu Trooper with all the material we had gathered and we made our way to the convention center. We drove around to the back entrance, where the exhibitors entered and dropped off our things and I parked the Trooper across the street in the Vendors lot. $25 passes for the 3 days. That’s pretty darn cheap. Thanks goodness.
We found our booth space, next to Langdon Farms GC. Stephanie was already there setting up their booth. Stephanie has been working for LFGC for many years and in various positions. She is now part of their Tournament Events sales team. David showed up about the same time that we were setting up our side of the booth. We got our banners hung and all of our materials on the table. In shows like this location is everything. We were very fortunate that our booth space was directly in front of the entrance line. People had already been assembling when we arrived and the line grew longer and longer.
Neither of us knew what to expect from the day. We both had attended these type of shows as “Customers” as well as vendors. We were ready to go about 20 minutes before the doors would be officially open. I was getting excited about the day’s event and how people would receive our message. I gathered our team together and went over our game plan. Jonzy would be the guy standing outside our tables and drawing men over to talk with. Kristen would have her side of the table and pass out our MYCF golf tournament brochures and encouraging people to sign up for our raffle. Since we were partnering with Langdon Farms GC we were holding a raffle for a $50.00 gift card to Langdon Farms. I would be doing a little of everything. Finally the doors were opened and the crowds came rushing in. You could tell that some people had their game plan too and headed off in various directions. As the initial line of patrons entered, there was excitement in the air. The other vendors around us were busy pitching their dialog and wares to the people that visited their booths.
Finally, we got a few people to come over to us and inquired what we were all about. We explained that we were a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Prostate Cancer awareness. It was very refreshing that most people were very interested and thanked us for our efforts.
Within the first few hours, we had about 50 raffle participants and had already spoken with several men that have been through the PC experience. That was rewarding to meet other’s that had survived prostate cancer and hear about their journeys. We collectively must have talked to more than a hundred men and their spouses about getting PSA tested on a regular basis and to be preventive, by changing the eating routines, exercising and reducing stress.
One of Jonzy missions was to cruise around the hall during the slower times and talk with the various vendors. He has a friendly attitude and is able to talk with just about anyone. That comes from all the years as a bartender. So, off he went to try and get some vendors to donate equipment products, gift certificates and free golf. I also worked some of the vendors too, hoping to get support from a few of them. Jonzy ended up securing a couple of vendors, and so did I. Kristen didn’t want any part of the solicitation process. That was fine, because we had Dave Mahar coming to help the next day. He is a great salesman, so I knew he would be comfortable doing that.
As the day progressed, we made some really great contacts with various groups and individuals. We gave away promotional items that we had placed around the tables. The Par for Life wristbands were a hit and the logo MYCF PC awareness tour tees went quickly. We passed out about 100 golf tournament brochures that first day. We even had one person sign up and pay. Of course, it was somebody we knew who had played last year, Russ Dragon. Russ came with my other 2 friends, Chris Turke and Shawn Ogle. They too have played in the past tournaments.
As the day was drawing to a close, we had given away almost all of the tees and wristbands that we had brought. We would have to search around the basement to see if we had anymore. The funny thing about golf shows, people are mostly there for the freebies. It’s humorous to watch people grabbing items from the table. Some of them will grab a handful and some will ask if they can have some. But, we were very happy that we had the opportunity to give these PC awareness products away.
Just about closing time, I asked Davis and Stephanie how their day had been. They said that they had a good number of people sign up for their drawing (iPad), but that they only sold a few Farm Cards. I love my farm card and have had one for several years. Any time I heard David or Stephanie talking about the benefits, I would try to add my support into the conversation. I must say that the travel benefits can’t be beat! With OB Sports operating over 14 courses in the Phoenix area, 6 in Las Vegas and 4 in Oregon, for the traveling golfer, this deal should not passed up.
The first day of the PGS had come to a close. We didn’t need to pack anything up and take back with us, so we just put our things under the table, grabbed our PGS passes and left for the night. Jonzy came in for a cocktail and we recapped the day’s events. We all agreed that it was a huge success. I know I was happy that we had attended the show and Kristen was too. We ordered a pizza from Bellagio’s, put our feet up and relaxed. 8:00am would come quickly, so we called it an early night.