Last night I was invited to join some of my coworkers at the Benchmark Email booth at the Inland Empire’s Largest Mixer. It was great to meet so many awesome people and businesses. Our entire crew left with smiles on our faces. It’s always nice when you get to call something like that work. I learned a lot from the experience, and decided to share it with you. Here is the Benchmark 5: Things I Learned at the Inland Empire’s Largest Mixer.

  1. Wear a costume. The first booth I hit up with our photographer Claude was the Tropicana Express booth because they had a woman in a Carmen Miranda fruit hat. Claude won a free night at their hotel/casino. Not long after I found myself snapping a photo with the Fiesta Auto Insurance mascot. A Qdoba employee donned Day of the Dead makeup. These things drew people in to their booths.
  2. Feed me. Free food always tastes better. Always. Since I hadn’t had anything to eat, save for a granola bar the entire day, the restaurant booths were an automatic favorite of mine. It wasn’t just me. These booths had the biggest crowds throughout the night. Plus, I saw a beautiful plate of paella floating through the crowd and had to ask the person where I could find it. It was like sending out people with mini advertisements through the aisles of the event.
  3. Smile! I can’t tell you how many people stopped to chat with us at our booth, just because we offered a smile and a hello. Most of them would have walked right past otherwise. The purpose of the event was to network, and we certainly got our fair share. It’s amazing how far being friendly will get you. It’s an additional element that you cannot achieve through phones, email, social media, etc. Make the most of the face time you’re putting in.
  4. Give something away. Aside from winning a free night’s stay, Claude also won raffle tickets for a TV giveaway. At 8:30 when the raffle was to take place, most of the crowd at the event had gathered around that particular booth. Many booths had a bowl for business cards with a prize for one lucky winner. People were walking by dropping off cards without even stopping.
  5. Know your elevator pitch. There are a lot of booths at events such as this. You only have a small amount of time to sell yourself or your product. Be sure you know your elevator pitch like it’s the back of your hand. What’s an elevator pitch? It’s your sales pitch condensed to the time it would take you to have a conversation in an elevator. Quick, concise and to the point.