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The Chicago Computer Society -- Users Helping Users

1995 Midwest Regional Conference

Vendors No Longer Interested?

Hartley Macklin, User Group Relations, Delrina Corporation -- (Workshop Description)

[Editor's note: the following is from the UG-LIST Internet mailing list, sponsored by the Melbourne PC User Group, Australia. A message was posted to the list suggesting that "many of the larger manufacturers are no longer interested in providing demonstrations, possibly due to the reduction of software/hardware costs." Hartley Macklin responded with the message below. It is reprinted with Hart's permission. - kej]

I am a former UG president, who was exclusively responsible for getting vendors to come out to Winnipeg, Canada. This was a VERY tough job. First no one knew where Winnipeg was, and second they almost all said that the Canadian office would take care of it. At the start the Winnipeg membership was about 360, with about 100 showing up for meetings.

Now that I am the Vendor Rep for Delrina, and the hat is on the other foot (so to speak), I feel that I have a really good idea of how to get the larger vendors to come out to speak you your group. Here is a list of Dos and Don'ts. These are of course my opinion only, and should not be taken as anything more than that.

DO get wired. An Internet address (CompuServe, AOL, etc.) is almost a must. We get way to many calls that are "Hi my name is Joe, please call me at ...". Sorry, but it is almost impossible to call everyone back, but it is possible to E-mail back. Every major vendor rep has a E-mail address.

DO include everything in your E-mail message possible. These should include:

  1. Your shipping address (no PO boxes),
  2. your daytime phone number,
  3. how many people are in your group
  4. how many show up to meetings (Not a range like "20 to 500"), be honest!
  5. The next three open dates available.
  6. The recommended airport, even if you think it is obvious.
  7. What you would like to see demoed. The more you know about the product line the more impressed they will be.
  8. Equipment list that the vendor will be responsible for.

Do send out your newsletters. I know it costs money, but I don't know any vendor rep who doesn't read them. If they see other vendors talking at your meetings, they will remember, and be more responsive.

DON'T expect the vendor to bring in a crowd by doing a mailer. It is nice when it happens, but it is VERY expensive, and not all can. You should be able to promise a certain number of people, and then make sure it happens!

DO inform us when you have a very successful meeting. Via E-mail, a short note outlining what happened, and how many people were there.

AND DO remember most vendors will do a certain number of smaller meetings, size is not everything! I myself have done a few small meetings, on purpose. If I can arrange it in the same week as a bigger group, even if it is not is the same state or area, I will.

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