Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I Can Sell Chocolate, But I Can Give it Away, Too! (See Dog Days Button)

Seriously, it is. When we pulled away, all of us were waving goodbye to the shopping mecca like sad little girls. All we needed was some jewelry-studded mouse ears as souvenirs.



Now let me tell you what I was really doing there. I went with my friend, "Mindy," who owns Gourmet Divine Delectable Foods and Confections, whose products are pictured next.

In Atlanta, there are three giant buildings, at least one has 17 stories, full of booths for buyers to come and buy for retailing purposes. I'm telling you; you have never seen anything like this. We were completely overwhelmed. It was bright, extremely crowded, noisy, very much like something you might see on a Food Network trade show documentary.

Although some upscale boutique suppliers are there year-round, in January and July, temporary exhibitors are also allowed, and this is where Mindy's business comes in. She rents booth space and offers samples to buyers who then order her product.

This is where I come in. I went along to help sell chocolate and help wipe out the sterling silver jewelry supply of booths on other floors! So we 6 ladies worked in shifts and shopped in shifts. We were basically on our feet from 9:00 a.m. until 6 p.m. involved in one of those two activities.

Our condo was one block away, owned by a professional couple whose daughter had gone to college in Atlanta and lived there while a student. When she graduated, they decided to keep the condo. We were their first renters.

Not all booths are cash and carry; some have minimums (like $400) and are open to buyers only (not us). But some, luckily most of the jewelry, were open to peons like us. Therefore, I came away with some great deals.

But my ultimate coup d'etat, my raison d'etre, my other French phrases that do not make sense in this context but sound as grand as I can sound, refer to the "Pampered Pet" section, where we pooled our money, met the minimum and ordered the cutest things ever for our pups.

I mean, yes, I know it was frivolous. But one could also make that argument against other such expenses, such as parasailing on one's vacation, right? At least that's what I told my husband, courtesy of my girlfriends who thought up that clever little rationale. (This is why I love them.)

When Zoe's "collection" arrives, you'll be the first to see it. And probably roll your eyes. I don't care. My little dog, who blew out her rear end (see previous posts) deserves a little pampering.

I know this is getting long (!) but you must know that I have found my second calling: sales.

Who'd a thunk it?

My sales pitch: "Have you ever tried our chocolate bark?" (People shook their heads and almost walked on by, but I snagged them. You would have been proud of me.) "Let me tell you what's unique about our product. This is the raspberry, our best selling product. Go ahead and taste it." (They were broken into little communion sized wafers.) "All of our bark has two layers of chocolate with a crunchy topping, but what's special about ours is that she infuses actual raspberry pulp into the chocolate, so you're not just getting a candy bar with a crunchy topping. No matter what flavor you're tasting, orange, lemon, peppermint, etc., the chocolate is infused with the flavor--the real deal!" [Note the inclusion of the word "infused," which sounds really impressive. After all, when was the last time you ate something infused with something else?] "That's why it has such a memorable flavor!"

"And, here is something else: she researched the candy cane topping for the peppermint bark to find one that would not stick in your teeth but would melt down nicely in your mouth!" [You would be surprised at how impressed people were with the kinder, gentler candy cane topping.] "Are you a coffee drinker? Her coffee flavors recently won an award (pointed to ribbon attached to chocolate because I'm smooth like that.) "We have caramel latte, choco-latte, and double espresso." [By this time, they are with me INSIDE the booth, going rapturous over this candy. It truly is unbelievable the power I was wielding.] Then I would suggest how they could display it beside cash registers or anchor gift baskets with the half pound bars, etc. Next I handed them the price sheet and told them about show specials that were not on the sheet. Many times they were then ready to order! Woooo!

One time, I had one order nearly $1000.00. So it came to be that I (and any other of the 6 who wanted to) would "hook" people and turn them over to order writers so that we could then discreetly grab, er, introduce new people to the product! You had to get their attention in about 15 seconds or they were on to the next booth!

I'm telling you: what a rush! It became this huge personal challenge within myself to SELL, SELL, SELL! My friends did not know what had possessed me--this is NOT my personality. I never even encouraged my kids to do fundraisers in school for good causes, let alone sell for PROFIT!

Thus, my friends lovingly nicknamed me "The H**ker" for reeling them in while they got the info.

YES! HIGH FIVE! SHOP! EAT! SWOLLEN FEET! HOARSENESS! STRANGE, "ECCENTRIC" "PEOPLE" SPENDING HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS UNDER MY SPELL!--It was truly an exhilerating, heady experience for me.

So, to celebrate, I'm joining in the Dog Days of Summer Giveaway (see button) and am giving away some Gourmet Divine. I don't understand this process yet with the linkys and whatnot, but I'm in. So, watch out for the day to enter into my drawing!

Until then, you can click on this 9 second video that someone took at another trade show with Mindy's products. I know this girl who is doling out the sample to this unnamed guy who took this video unbeknownst to my friend and posted it on YouTube. Our booth was better, though, because we could get people inside it and walk them from sample to sample. But she is doing what I did, only in a cuter way and less diabolically, or less intensely, you might say. Much less intensely. Oh well. Time to return to momhood and secretaryhood now.

7 comments:

Lynn said...

You go girl!!! I have no doubt you can succeed at anything you try, you have the Lord behind you.

Fun read!

Susanne said...

I can totally see you grabbing total strangers and reeling them in! ;v)

Let me tell you, I love this chocolate of your friend's. It is to die for. And I had the coffee flavor. I want an "infused" flavor. I wanta win! I wanta win!

Okay I need to go calm myself.

Jen said...

sounds like you had a blast!!!
Cant wait for the giveaway

Shelly said...

Girl! You are cracking me up! I've heard about this event...And I do believe Jesus is protecting me from being able to go. Otherwise, I would be the 'Disney-world' kid throwing a temper-tantrum at having to leave! lol..Not just 'looking sad' as you respectable women did!

And you even had me drooling over here with those sell pitches! lol...GREAT JOB! And yea - I'm digging the nicer peppermint too! lol

Melanie said...

A H**ker in Hotlanta. Who knew?

;>)

It's all about the 'fusion the days. All about the 'fusion...

Debbie said...

Sales!!!!
Isn't it amazing how your personality can change when you're "on stage". Welcome to my world....

Glas you're home safe and sound - you were missed.

Anonymous said...

I, who shall remain unnamed, was there with Linda. My selling style was slightly different. If someone moved on and said they'd be back, I said something like, "if you don't come back, I will hunt you down like the dog you are" which led to all kinds of interesting responses...and body language. Hey, it takes all kinds to make a profit these days!