My son and I exhibited at an annual show where we sell our handmade soaps, sugar scrubs and glass dishes. Each year, in addition to sharing with him more of how the “business” works, I have been teaching him some marketing.

This year, our latest marketing idea was a huge success. Selling by Sampling!

In each of the ladies’ rooms we placed a jar of our sugar scrubs along with a note. The note included: what the product was; how to use it; a mention the scrub was there for their use, complements of our company; and our booth number. We also followed up with jars open on our table.

Within the first two hours of the show we were sold out of the scents offered as samples. The other scents did okay overall, but the ones people actually got to use were gone in a flash.

Lessons learned – samples get people to the booth and sell better than everything else.

This idea is not novel, or the intel groundbreaking, by any stretch. But with its success, you can’t help but want to translate the idea to other business models. And since we live in the jewelry world sampling could be tricky not to mention expensive! Somewhere in this marketing idea we can find a balance, though. I’m sure of it!

Something that offers just enough to get people interested in coming to the booth and helps close the sale.

I’m going to work on this as well as start planning for next year’s show. When you can, please leave a comment on any experiences you may have, tips and techniques that worked for you at your last show, or a selling by sampling example that worked for you.