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Merrill Lap Boards VS Folders VS Nothing

ChefCat

Member
Jan 29, 2010
197
0
I like using folders for my guests at shows, I wonder if Merrills lap boards would be more economical in the long run? When you buy 12 they are $2.67 each, plus tax and shipping. If I can find folders at back to school sales I think I can get them for around $0.25 each. But they are thin and get dog-eared quick and I think that looks sloppy. Plus I am almost out and there are no back to school sales now.

So what do you use for your shows? How are the lap boards at vendor booths? Thoughts?
 
Jul 24, 2009
243
0
I use the plastic pronged folders with pockets with page protectors inside. In the front pocket I put the drawing slip. In the page protectors I have: a catalog, order form, the flyer with host/guest specials for the next few months, a recruiting flyer, a sheet with the benefits of hosting a show, and a fundraiser flyer. I love using these because the plastic folder itself is pretty sturdy, and I have WAY less walkaway catalogs LOL

I have looked at the lapboard and am going back and forth about whether or not I want them because they don't seem like they hold much
 

ChefCat

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Jan 29, 2010
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  • Thread starter
  • #3
Do you have the whole catalog on one page protector or a catalog cut up and each sheet in a page protector?

Sounds nice.
 
Jul 24, 2009
243
0
I have the whole catalog in one page protector, that way they can take it out to look through it :)
 

chefann

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Nov 4, 2005
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I used to use lap boards, and they added a LOT of weight to my show bag. I also had people take them to use for other things. :grumpy:

Currently, I use a lightweight flexible plastic 2-pocket folder with prongs. I put the catalog and a sheet of sticky tabs (from Merrill) in the front pocket, order form and door prize slip in the back pocket, and several page protectors in the prongs containing: this month's guest special, next month's host special, host benefits/theme show flyer, a recruiting flyer (general info) and the current recruiting promo, if any. The whole packet doesn't add oodles of weight, and it's sturdy enough that people can use them as a lap desk for filling out the order forms. The plastic holds up better than paper folders, too.

In the past, I've used manila file folders, too. I'd put a sticker on the tab that said "Pampered Chef Information" with my name and contact info. Then I'd put a catalog and an order form in each. When I passed them out at shows, I'd let people know that they could keep the folders to have a place to keep their receipts for guarantee purposes. The blank space also gave them a place to take notes during the show about the recipe or products they liked. I did go through more catalogs with the file folders than I do with the plastic ones - people tend to return the catalog with the plastic folder about half of the time vs. keeping the whole packet in file folders.

My former Director had a very successful business, and she never passed out more than an order form stuffed into a catalog. So what you do is entirely up to you. Find something that works (give it a couple of months to determine if it's working, and take notes about catalog keep/return rates) and then run with it.
 

ChefBeckyD

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Sep 20, 2005
20,376
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Like Ann, I used to use Lapboards. I still have them in case I want to use them sometime again in the future. BUT they added so much weight to my bag!

I use a manila folder. It's just what works for me. I put in the order form, catalog, guest care card, and KAM's 3 month host/guest special flyer. I tell people they are welcome to take anything in the folder with them at the end of the evening, and take the folder to keep their PC receipts in a safe place.

Some do, some don't. Some are very appreciative of having the folder to take home.

My director just hands out a catalog and order form. :)
 

wadesgirl

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Jul 25, 2007
11,412
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I prefer the lapboards. I seem to run into some crowds that just cannot function without something to write on. The only thing I wish is that they brought back the black ones. The white ones show pen markings along with my special one that has one kid's name on it :) gotta love those parents that don't watch their kids.
 

jbdowd0798

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Jan 20, 2008
1,274
1
I use the cheap folders from Staples/Walmart that you can get for 1cent-10cents each come July when school supplies go on sale. I buy the max (plus each child will get the max) so thats usually 30 a trip (10 per person) and thats all I need for a season.I think buy the large clear PC labels from Merrill and they last at least a season. I tell people they can have anything in the folder but I reuse them and people love that idea.
In the right side is the order form, catalog, and I use a customer survey slip (same info as the drawing slip) (2per page) on yellow paper so its easy to find on my desk later. Then on the left is all recruiting info....a personal invitation for them to join the biz, a flyer/brochure from the supply order, and any specials there might be.
The folders have prongs but I don't use them anymore...I use the flip chart with colored pics and talk about it when its folder time.
 

Sheila

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Mar 26, 2008
5,375
75
I was using black clip boards that I bought at the 100 Yen Store (the equivalent of a Dollar Store). A Director who was quitting sold me a whole bunch of stuff for very cheap and about 15 lap boards were in the bundle. I didn't think I would like them, but I do!!! I kept having the monthly fliers walk off. Now, I put them in the pocket on the back of the clipboard & I haven't had one grow legs. So I only have to print them one time for the whole month vs. for every show. :D In the front pocket, I put an order form, my version of a wish list, the catalog, and then a door prize drawing slip (at an angle so they can get it out & so the "PC" logo is very visible when they glance at it. It also has a pocket for your business card. About half of them come back with the business card missing. I've never handed out business cards at my show before, but I'm not complaining!!! :D

I put my carry case on top of the roll case, so I really don't notice extra weight unless I'm having to carry the bag up a set of stairs. I was actually looking at buying more of them on Merrill's web page, but was disappointed to see that the pen holders are now on the side & no longer on the top. Seems like they will be harder to fit in my case if they are on the side. :(
 

gailz2

Senior Member
Gold Member
Jun 1, 2007
2,018
10
  • #10
Count me as one of the people who just hands out catalogs with order forms. I pass around the monthly host special in a clear plastic sleeve. I individually hand out the door prize slips. Especially now that our catalogs are thicker, my guests don't seem to ever complain about needing something more to write on. The catalogs are heavy enough for me to carry without having to also carry clipboards or binders.
 

BethCooks4U

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Jan 21, 2005
13,007
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  • #11
I love using lapboards and the customers love them too but they were one thing I could take out of my bag when I HAD to cut down on how much I carry so now I just hand out a catalog and order form (that's all I had in the lapboard too). I also provide pens in the small bamboo bowl. I pass out the drawing slips when I'm ready.

I have all the other flyers and info in a binder that is out for them to look at and pass around. I also have some at checkout.

I have found that most people don't look at all that other stuff anyway and the recruiting and booking things are already in the catalog which I encourage them to keep - recipes, etc and my info are all there for them. I make sure to remind them of the guest special throughout the show and I mention the host specials. They don't need all that extra and I'd rather invest in catalogs for them to keep than flyers that will surely be tossed.
 

NooraK

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Feb 6, 2008
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  • #12
I also only do a catalog and an order form.

I've tried to implement some of the things Michael Reeves talked about at Spring Launch, and I've started doing a more interactive show. I hand out the catalogs when the guests sit down after getting their food, and I give them a pen when I do so. I cover the specials while they're tasting the recipe, and I have them in a folder that I can pass around for them to look at. I hand out the drawing slip after I'm done with my "what's on sale" spiel.
 

babywings76

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Jun 19, 2008
7,289
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  • #13
I use the lap boards. I use my HWC tote/backpack for them plus my other non-product supplies. I really like having them. They are heavier, but since I sling it over my shoulder, I don't really mind it.

I like giving people a firm thing to write on. I use Kam's 3 month host special flyer or the Benefits of Hosting a Show flyer (I think Kam made the new special one I use now...it's very eye-catching and nice!) on the back. On the front side, I include a catalog and order form. I ran out of YLYW flyers, but I used to include them. Now I don't out of habit, but am debating including them. I hand out the DPDS so that when I want to do that, they all have one and don't have to search for it and they fill it out at the same time.

I was just at a Tupperware party last night and the consultant used paper folders with pockets on the inside. It felt awkward opening and closing it while balancing my catalog, pen, and the tickets she was giving out. I found that I just didn't get a free minute to look through much of the other stuff. She never mentioned whether or not we could take anything. I just left it all.
 

smspamperedchef

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Jan 24, 2007
1,235
1
  • #14
I also use catalogs with just an order formed tucked inside. (I use the outside order forms) I pass around and talk about the guest specials and host specials and benefits of booking, as well as do the booking slide. Then, I talk about and pass around the prize drawing slips. I don't want customers making up their mind about hosting/recruiting by filling out their slip right away before I've had a chance to gain their interest.
 

robochick84

Member
Sep 3, 2009
213
0
  • #15
For my first six months I used folders, and every show I would be printing, replacing, sorting, etc. It just became overwhelming trying to keep up with the maintenance of the folders, and people either didn't look at the papers inside or just tossed them aside.

This season I am starting with a new organization system. I got a nice 7 pocket folio. I am going to just give out the catalogs and order forms, and pass around the special flyers.
 

beckyjsmith

Member
Jul 20, 2008
398
0
  • #16
I use lap boards and they are so so handy. I just put the catalog order form and alphabetical product list on top. I tuck a pen inside.
I didn't order mine from Merrill though. I use old three ring binders and cut them in half. Very easy to do and much cheaper. :)
I take all of my paperwork in the rolling tote so I don't carry it. I also keep my laptop, calendar flip chart thingie ( with the billboard things in it) in there.
 

smart2cook

Member
Gold Member
Feb 27, 2010
332
6
  • #17
I use a clear plastic frame to hold each special in (very inexpensive and can be changed as needed) they are two sided and easily seen and read on both sides. I too use to use all of the above from the nice organized sheet protectors with folders, clip boards etc.. but alot of maintenance, weight and so I just use manila folders and if they get dog eared, I use them for my shows when they close.
 

wadesgirl

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Jul 25, 2007
11,412
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  • #18
For the specials I don't print them out, I just have on in the flip top binder. This helps to cut down on reorganizing my lapboards for every show!
 

LUPE

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Aug 12, 2005
54
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  • #19
I used lap boards for 2 years. Now I just use the catalog with teh order from and explain the guest special to them. I use the flip chart book to display the guest special. It is much less weight and produces the ame results.
 

smart2cook

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Gold Member
Feb 27, 2010
332
6
  • #20
The flip chart sounds like a good idea!
 

teachernikol

Novice Member
Oct 13, 2008
30
0
  • #21
Okay here is a cheap solution to the lap board question that works great for me. I purchased cheap 3-ring binders from a dollar store. They had the clear plastic front and then a pocket on the inside of both the front and back. I cut the front and back off of the binder and use those as my lap boards. It works great!
 

etteluap70PC

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May 24, 2005
3,665
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  • #22
I used folders for over 5 years. I finally decided it was too much work and extra weight. Now it's just a catalog and order form. I have the specials in my binder to pass.
 

cochef

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Jul 8, 2007
1,012
18
  • #23
Do you have the whole catalog on one page protector or a catalog cut up and each sheet in a page protector?

Sounds nice.

I use the plastic 3-prong folders with pockets. I put a strip of clear package tape along one side of the bound edge of the catalog and fold it over to the back, making it extend about 1/2". Punch 3 holes in the tape (not the catalog) and attach it in the folder. Keeps it intact and the taped edge extends it so all pages can be fully seen when opened. I always have extra catalogs to hand out if someone asks for one.:)
 

scottcooks

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Jul 7, 2005
1,937
98
  • #24
Be duplicatable. Lap Boards = slick. Awesome looking, very professional, but... a bit lofty for typical shows.

Instead, use a Manilla folder or even a Legal sized folder. Put your energy into your show - not in accessories that don't add up to sales.
 

beckyjsmith

Member
Jul 20, 2008
398
0
  • #25
Be duplicatable. Lap Boards = slick. Awesome looking, very professional, but... a bit lofty for typical shows.

Instead, use a Manilla folder or even a Legal sized folder. Put your energy into your show - not in accessories that don't add up to sales.

Like teachernikol I use cheap three ring binders cut in two for lapboards.
That's pretty duplicatable.
Cheap accessories that make life easier for my guests when they sit on couches and circle their wish list items certainly haven't hurt.
Just my 2cents. :)
 
Last edited:

sandilou

Advanced Member
Silver Member
Oct 9, 2009
514
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  • #26
I used to use pocket folders, went to red file folders with my info on the tab. I never got a call from that and decided the expense was not worth it. I also got tired of reloading and organizing them. Now its the catalog and an order form, and pass out the PDS and any extras when I am ready. The specials get printed on card stock to pass around. I have not noticed a difference in sales or anything else, its easier, lighter and cheaper!

Sandi
 

wadesgirl

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Jul 25, 2007
11,412
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  • #27
I tried to make the lapboards from the three ring binders but I'm too much of a perfectionist that they just looked sloppy. The lap boards look much more professional
 

ChefBeckyD

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Sep 20, 2005
20,376
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  • #28
Sandi's post reminded me of the REAL reason I use folders. :D

For a while I tried to do without them, and just passing stuff out as/when needed. Well, the problem with that for me was that I would forget to pass out DPDS, or forget to show them the guest special, etc.

With the folder, all of that is right in front of them - I just make sure I have a folder with me, and I go over everything in the folder - no forgetting!:D

If I were a tad more organized in my thinking, I might not need to use the folders. :eek: But I know me - that's not going to happen!
 

etteluap70PC

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May 24, 2005
3,665
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  • #29
I had those issues too Becky until I copied one of the consultants on the video we got a few years ago where they adopted the interactive show. I have a 3 ring binder with the specials in it. I also put my DPDS in the front. I always go thru the book quickly so I don't forget any of the awesome programs PC offers.

Again if it works for you... go for it. It's one of the many reasons I love the DS industry!
 

sandilou

Advanced Member
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Oct 9, 2009
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  • #30
I solve that by making a little pile of stuff on the corner of the table/counter where I can see it in the order I want to use it, starting with the SB for the host. Even the booking slide is in the pile, AND the PDS, which I used to forget all the time!

Sandi
 

Chefgirl2

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Jan 23, 2006
992
6
  • #31
I've done it all. I even had 1/2 inch binders with protective sleeves for each page of the cataolg. I'm only 5 ft tall and it was heavy! Then I cut them up for lap boards...still too heavy for me. After that I went to catalogs and orderforms. Soooo easy and getting ready for a show was a cinch! I used a booking binder that I always passed around and I had flyers scattered around...my sales average dropped. This last Fall I went back to how I started. I have cheap pocket folders with the clasp that has one clear sleeve that usually has the 3 month flyer on one side and my DCB bundle on the other. The pockets have one catalog, one orderform, a recruiting flyer and pan...I put a Merrill sticker on the outside and my business card in the inside area.

My sales have skyrocketed! I've done more $1,000 shows since switching back then I did in the 2 previous years combined.
 

ChefBeckyD

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Sep 20, 2005
20,376
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  • #32
I've done it all. I even had 1/2 inch binders with protective sleeves for each page of the cataolg. I'm only 5 ft tall and it was heavy! Then I cut them up for lap boards...still too heavy for me. After that I went to catalogs and orderforms. Soooo easy and getting ready for a show was a cinch! I used a booking binder that I always passed around and I had flyers scattered around...my sales average dropped. This last Fall I went back to how I started. I have cheap pocket folders with the clasp that has one clear sleeve that usually has the 3 month flyer on one side and my DCB bundle on the other. The pockets have one catalog, one orderform, a recruiting flyer and pan...I put a Merrill sticker on the outside and my business card in the inside area.

My sales have skyrocketed! I've done more $1,000 shows since switching back then I did in the 2 previous years combined.


And then you collect the folders at the end of the evening?
Are these the paper folders or plastic?
If paper - how long (as in how many shows) do you get out of them before they start looking really dog-eared?

And finally - is there anything else you've changed that you think would also be contributing to your sales increase, or is it JUST the folders?

I'm really interested in this, and would like to hear a bit more!
 

pamperedlinda

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Mar 17, 2006
10,264
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  • #33
I started using lapboards 2 years ago and I love them - so do my guests. They are heavier to carry, but they fit in my bag so I'm not carrying an extra bag. I stopped carrying them for a while and I had several repeat guests get on to me about it, they like them so I carry them.
 

Chefgirl2

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Jan 23, 2006
992
6
  • #34
And then you collect the folders at the end of the evening? Yes, I do collect them at the end of the night.
Are these the paper folders or plastic? Most are plastic coated paper. Recently, I needed more...it killed me to pay .52 cents each for plain paper
If paper - how long (as in how many shows) do you get out of them before they start looking really dog-eared?I's say the paper ones last 60 or more shows. The coated ones around a year...when I used to replace them all.

And finally - is there anything else you've changed that you think would also be contributing to your sales increase, or is it JUST the folders?


I'm really interested in this, and would like to hear a bit more!

I'm using the DCB at E-V-E-R-Y show, calling it the magic pot, printing off a copy of the DCB booklet with 90plus recipes for the hostess if she wants to earn DCB free(I print on fast ink, use 3 hole punch and cheap folder w/clasps), have guests really look at all this pot does as they sign her new cookbook, and then pass my own copy around. My copy is in protective sheets and boldly labled Consultant's Copy if found please return to...I'm talking theme shows and booking in close. Feb 1st I met a woman who did her show on Fri, Feb 5th...it closed on the 8th at $1,362! People really do know what they are doing in a few days compared with a few weeks.
 

flemings99

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Jun 27, 2007
1,027
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  • #35
I use plastic folders with 3 rings in the middle. I put an opportunity flier in the first pocket, protector sheets in the middle with current and upcoming specials, wedding shower flier and fundraiser info. Then I have a magazine holder in the rings that holds the catalog. Staples is the only place I've found them and they have to be ordered.
Last pocket has the order form in it.

Yes they are added weight but not as bad as the lap boards; however the folders are a little more work to change out the fliers.

What I've found is guest like to have the fliers in their folders to look at and then look back at later vs just passing a single sheet around.

I tell the guest to please leave the folders at the show but that they are welcome to take anything out of them.
 
Mar 6, 2010
52
1
  • #36
We got the folders with pockets and three prongs so it is like a three ring binder. They are smaller paper ones though. We took apart catalogs and put each sheet in a sheet protector. We put a wish list (we highlight the products we are using in the show)in one pocket along with an order form. In the other pocket we put color copies of the current months guest special as well as next months host and guest special. We put in a dry erase maker as well, so they can mark up the pages of the catalogs with questions, circle items they want, and just put in random notes.

When they come to check out and go through the catalog we can see any notes they have and it helps up speak to their questions and upsell when possible. If someone wants to take a catalog with them we bring a few that we can give to people to take with them. Seems to work very well, they have a way to take notes as well as something to write on.
 

RCKmom

Member
Oct 13, 2009
86
0
  • #37
I stuff the monthly guest special and an order form in the catalog and pass that out along with a pen. I pass out the door prize drawing slip seperate. I would love to do more, but being a new consultant I find that any extra money I have goes into buying new product to add to my inventory. In reading this...though it gives me alot of cheap ideas that I can think about trying.
 
Apr 6, 2010
24
0
  • #38
I made lapboards. I got white 3 ring binders from Walmart ($2ish) and cut them in half. Be sure to get the ones with pockets on the inside and clear pocket on the front and back. So for each binder I made two lapboards. They were super easy to make and look nice.
 

Sandylovescooking

Gold Member
Jul 11, 2010
6
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  • #39
Lapboards are the best. I purchased a rolling computer case at a garage sale for $3.00. I don't ever have to carry them. It works perfect.
 

ChefBeckyD

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Sep 20, 2005
20,376
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  • #40
I stuff the monthly guest special and an order form in the catalog and pass that out along with a pen. I pass out the door prize drawing slip seperate. I would love to do more, but being a new consultant I find that any extra money I have goes into buying new product to add to my inventory. In reading this...though it gives me alot of cheap ideas that I can think about trying.

I've been doing this for 8.5 years. I started out doing exactly what you do. Then I decided to go with lapboards, and then folders.

Now, I've come full circle, and I am doing exactly what you do. It makes my business easier, and it makes it more repeatable. Meaning that my new recruits can do exactly what I do without spending any more money than the price of their kit. This has become very important for me as I work with my team. It's not just me, but I'm also concerned for the amount of money they may have to spend to do business. I have FT students, out-of-work moms, single moms, etc...on my team, and I never want them to think that they have to spend more money in order to do what I do. So - I've started using just the catalog w/ an order form tucked in it, and the specials for the this month and next (I use the flyer from Kam!:thumbup:) and I've also gone back to using the Door Prize Drawing slip from PC, instead of making my own.
 

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