Dear Homeschool Mom,
I am one of those little people at just one of the many booths that you walk past during your convention. I spend the entire convention on my feet. I am there before you arrive and I’m there after you leave. I set up banners and organize the booth and I get to pack it all away at the end. I talk until I lose my voice and I stand until my feet ache. However, I love every minute of my convention experience mostly because I get to talk an amazing group of homeschool moms – encouraging you, commiserating with you, laughing with you, and sharing our homeschool struggles and triumphs.
You can make eye contact with me as you pass my booth. Really, I’m not here to tackle you when you walk by.
You can take a piece of literature from me, thank me, and walk on your own way. It doesn’t hurt my feelings.
You can also tell me, “No thank you,” when I hold out a piece of information near you. I can take the rejection. After all, I’m only here to help and if my product isn’t helpful to you, it’s ok.
Feel free to stop at my booth and ask questions. I am happy to share about my product and I’m eager to answer your questions.
Also, feel free to talk about more than just my product. I’m a homeschool mom just like you and I enjoy chatting about our shared experiences as we each venture through our homeschool days.
I do have some suggestions for you as you prepare for your convention and for your convention experience.
Take some time the week or two before the convention to make sure you’re ready. Here’s how:
- Go through the list of speakers and sessions and chose those that you absolutely must hear.
- Choose a few that you would like to purchase a recording of and you can order those at the end of the convention.
- In your schedule, set aside some specific shopping times when you will have the chance to enjoy the vendor hall.
- Next, go through the list of vendors and research them before you go so you know a little about the products offered and you can write down specific questions you have.
- Categorize vendors as those that you know you don’t need, those that you know you must see, and those that you’d like to visit if you have the time. Then make a list.
- Once you get to the convention, use your time on the first day to walk up and down every row in the vendor hall.
- Pick up some literature from every booth and make note of which booths catch your eye.
- That night compare your original list with the vendors you saw and refine the list of booths to visit.
- On the next day (or next two days) of your convention, stop by each booth and visit with the vendor to ask questions and look through the products.
Ask the vendor:
What subjects and age ranges does the product cover?
What is included?
How often is the product designed to be used (or how many lessons are there)?
How is the product different from others available (without naming competitors)?
How long have they personally used the product?
Their favorite aspect of the product
Ask about pricing and convention specials
After you’ve visited the booths on your list, narrow down your options and make some decisions.
If you’ve found the programs that you want for your homeschool, make your purchase at the convention because the vendors usually offer great specials and discounts.
Some of them, like me, are volunteers and are paid a small fee or are paid with the next level of the product for their own personal homeschool. You might be surprised to learn that some of the vendors do not work on commission.