10 Keys to make your event an OUTRAGEOUS Success through hiring a Spruiking Professional

Your Spruiker on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane and Sydney10 Keys to make your event an OUTRAGEOUS Success through hiring a Spruiking Professional

Spruiking is the most effective and immediate form of marketing that you can engage for your business.  Therefore, in this show I am interviewing Desley Cowley from Spruikerhire.com and Desley takes us through 10 keys  to making your Spruiking event a GREAT success!!  You can book me here for your next event but be quick!


Transcription of discussion on Spruiking


Hi there!  I’m Ron Law.  Now today we’re going to be thinking about spruiking.  Hiring a spruiker is the most effective way to boost your profits and to see immediate response from your customers.  My guest today is Desley Cowley.  Desley Cowley is going to share 10 keys to success and I’m really excited and ready to go.

Desley Cowley is a community solutions strategist who helps commercial and not-for-profit communities work better together.  She holds a Queensland Real Estate Agents Licence, has managed shopping centres since 1988, and has developed an innovative national post-code searchable online retail talent directory, she works and has worked with successful not-for-profit and for-profit communities in Queensland, New South Wales and the Northern Territory and is currently working with Dreamtime Cultural Centre in Rockhampton on the Dreamtime 30-Year Anniversary Project.

Ron:  Hi Desley!

Desley:  Hi Ron!  How are you?

Ron:  Good.  Great to have you here today! Well it’s like a satellite linkup isn’t it, from the Gold Coast to Rockhampton?


Desley: It’s awesome.

Ron:   Yeah it is great, and it’s great to be able to talk to you like this.  We’ve known one another for a few years and I did your course, your Spruiker Hire course and it really helped me get a good start in spruiking and we’ve been talking about spruiking and exchanging business and stuff for a few years.

So Desley, how long have you been in the spruiking business and what got you involved?

Desley:  Well my background is shopping centre management as you mentioned in your intro, and so I’ve been working with spruikers for about 30 years in my role as the Centre Manager. 

It’s always hard…very difficult to find talent at short notice and to find good talent, people that are experienced and know what they’re actually doing.  So I recognized the need and the demand for a service like what I’ve developed, an online national talent directory where retailers and shopping centre managers or marketing managers can contact the talent directly and be able to talk to them directly rather than through an agency and wait forever to get back to get going and get happening with their events and activities that they want to run.

Wig on Fire!

Ron:  Yeah so I’ve been out there and done a bit spruiking here and there and it’s been a lot of fun and there’s a lot of things that happen, and some funny things.  What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you on a spruiking gig?

Desley:  Well this is going way back in the day when I was first just a marketing assistant and we had the Batmobile come to town here in Rockhampton and I got dressed up as the Joker…yes I was the Joker complete with wig and the white makeup and all the rest of it.  And so I was tripping around the centre and these young guys light my hair up and it was a…

Ron:  What?!!!

Desley: … bit of a worry at the start but they didn’t succeed, obviously because I was so…

Ron:  Thank goodness.

Desley: …and so what they then did… because I was determined that there were not going to win, was ripped my wig off.  So here I was standing in the middle of the largest shopping centre in town with this costume on, white makeup and flat hair, and so I just with the most decorum I could possibly muster I picked up my wig, walked back to the office, got myself all tidied up and got back to the gig at hand.

So that’s probably my most memorable experience because of that combination of panic when I thought, “Oh God I’m going to be on fire in a minute!”  And embarrassment that I was there looking…well at the time you know when you’re young you worry more, that’s probably my most memorable moment.

Ron:  Wow!  That is a memory.  Looking at spruiking, what is it?  How would you define it?  What’s it about?

What is Spruiking?

Desley:  Look, spruiking really is drawing attention, you know the whole idea is to draw attention to your store or to your event or to your activity, whatever is happening where you’ve got your spruiker or your brand ambassador, cooking demonstrator, product demonstrator, it’s just drawing attention.  You can imagine what it’s like week after week, day after day, you’ve got the same shoppers going in and out of your shop, going pass your door, you know the day-to-day stuff that you’ve got in the windows you might change them once a week.  People just don’t notice, they’re just going about their business, the only way that you can get them to look at shop rather than the one next door or still keep lost in their minds is to do something different, and that’s really what I think that a spruiker does, it just draws attention.

Ron:   If I was listening for instance as a retailer I’d be wondering, “Well how is this going to work? How does it change things for me?”

A Numbers Game

Desley:  Well it’s a numbers game, it really is.  The more people that knows your store the more that’ll look at it, the more that will go in, the more opportunities you’ve got to sell.  Add to that a really…you know a good spruiker, a good talent who can then increase the number of people, not just say “It is in here funny boy. Ha ha ha,” and move on, but actually pet to the audience, talk to them about the product or the offer that that store’s got happening at the time can really exponentially, truly exponentially make a difference.

I have had one gig where I know, I was told, that I increased the sales, they attributed the fact that I was standing outside the door by $60,000.  Now that was a large turnover store, but in three years that’s pretty damn good.  Now not every store is going to get massive results like that because obviously if you’re a discount shop and you’re selling two-dollar items well you know I’d have to be pretty hot to generate $60,000 in sales in three hours, but certainly that’s achievable.

Ron:  Yeah, well I guess you’ve seen some successful spruiking gigs and some that may not have turned out to be too successful.  What do you think the key really is to a successful gig?

What is the Key to a successful Spruiking Gig?

Desley:  Planning, planning, and planning.  I think it’s just preparation, really making sure you’ve got plenty of stock, you’ve got good quality stuff,  that you’ve met…if the spruiker is an external person that you’ve contacted and you’ve met with each other in advance, you’ve really planned out the gig, and then you still ad lib it at the end of the day.  It’s just making sure you know as the spruiker what the retailer wants and you’ve got the tools to get it.

Ron:  Look, when I did your course there was all sorts of things that I’ll admit off  Spruikerhire.com, and you had though at the top of the list the top 10 tips I think there were and why don’t we run through that now as we think about what those top 10 tips are, just quickly.

Desley:  I can absolutely do that, that would be awesome.  So…and I do have a PDF and I’m more than happy for you to share that with your listeners Ron.

Ron:   Terrific!

Mini Action Plan

Desley:  First and foremost, it should be fun.  Spruiking should be fun and it shouldn’t be hard to produce results when you’re enjoying what you’re doing.  What you need to do whether you’re internally spruiking, your own team are doing it or you’ve got an external person, is you’ve got to meet with your team in advance and make sure that you’re all on the same page in terms of what you want to achieve and how you’ll make that happen.

Prepare a mini action plan for the course of the day and make sure everyone has a copy.

Write scripts or prepare a dot point list of the features and benefits of each offer. So it’s not that you really necessarily want the spruiker or the talent to be reading the script per se, myself I prefer a dot point list and then you sort of ad lib around it to do with the environment, but it really doesn’t matter because people don’t look at the spruiker so much once you’re talking about the offer, I don’t think.

Be A Leader

Need to lead my example, there’s no point moaning and groaning, “Oh yes I’ve got these apples at $1.99 a kilogram.  Come on in and try them out.”  You’ve got to have that vibrance and energy and exuberance about you and you’ve got to be contagious, you’ve got to make the customers feel loved, cause they won’t walk in if they’re not.  Yeah, you’ve got to be contagious…I basically said that.

Make use of movement, it can be mirrors, balloons, streamers, colour, anything that moves to draw attention to you and then I would use it to draw attention to the product.  So it’s just really doing something that’s just kind of distract them from whatever’s going on in their head to make them look at you so that then you’ve got the opportunity to engage.

Theme your shop front for the day. Black Friday, Pinktober, Saint Patty’s Day, Christmas of course Santa Clause, back-to-school, whatever it is it doesn’t really matter what you do as long as it looks and feels different from the corner of the eye of the passerby.  And of course if you’re working in a food shop, nothing will draw the customer in more than the smell of freshly-baked bread or brewing coffee or bacon and eggs…

Ron:  Yum yum.

Theme Up

Desley:  If they’re like a body shop don’t you love walking pass the body shop, you can smell the smell that’s coming out of that shop as you walk pass and…

Ron: Yes you can.

Desley: …you know, and if it’s just… Yeah so work with your team to create the atmosphere that will produce results.  Like me, I mean it’s very rare that you have nasty boys with cigarette lighters, but dress up, encourage your team to dress up too.  Christmas T-shirts are not that expensive, Easter T-shirts, it’s not…it doesn’t cost a lot to put together a point-of-sale event or promotion that’s going to make a difference and increase sales in a way that excellent advertising can’t.  They’re walking pass your door you’ve just got to draw them in.  Make noise, use music, give something away for free, you really don’t have to dress like a clown just to…stand on in a crowd, like I think you wore a pink bow tie don’t you Ron, or something like that?

Ron:  Oh yeah when I’ve been spruiking for some cosmetic shops that I’ve been doing recently, I have worn pink ties and things and it’s just blended in with what’s been going on, and people often comment about my tie,  Yeah, so it blends in with what’s happening.

Book Early

Desley:  I’ve got another spruiker Steve, he’s based in Melbourne and he has got…he does something similar, he matches his colours but he’s got those glitzy hats and he’s got a red, green and a yellow one I think, and when he wears that he wears the matching bow tie and a matching…you know one of those bright gaudy watches, and I think he’s got some red patent overshoes as well.  But the rest of his…he just wears normal slacks and white shirts, or whatever he wears, and the rest of what he wears is just normal gear, it’s not a costume per se.  So it’s just those little added touches that make people turn their heads.

One of the disadvantages that retailers have, or one of the mistakes they make is that they…even though that they might do their marketing calendar 12 months in advance they’ll think…they’ll have an event that they’re planning for Thursday, Friday, Saturday for a week and they’ll think “Oh yeah I can bring out the Guinness Spruiker on the Monday of that week or the Tuesday.”  So then when they go to my website and they try to find someone, of course all of the good talent in the peak trading periods are already booked, it’s too late. 

A Searchable Talent Site

So they’re pushed to go to an agency, the agency is stuck in the same situation.  You know the people that are smart enough to plan ahead have booked the good talent.  There’s always going to be an exception, there’s always going to be a last cancellation so I don’t want people to think that just because they’re able to ring up on Tuesday and get you on Thursday Ron that means you’re not good because that’s not what I’m trying to say, but it’s just that generally speaking though that’s what happens.  Leading up to Christmas most of the talent on my site were booked out by early November for December. We set up in a way that the retailer can go on to the site, they do need to register but it’s free for retailers to register, and that’s just a game so that we can monitor who’s visiting the site.  They can then go and search by post code, say on the Gold Coast, and they’ll find the number of spruikers that are available.

So say…well Melbourne’s probably the one where I’ve got the most spruikers, so there might be eight or ten talent there, they can actually tick a little box to say they want to email all of those people at once and say “Okay I’ve got this thing this Saturday, four hours…this is my budget.  Are you interested?”  Or “This is my gig,” and then they might have even chosen eight or ten of those people to email and only one of them is available and that one will reply and say “Yes I’m available.”


I actually do the marketing of the site and I sent out a regular fortnightly newsletter to a fairly large and growing database of shopping centre marketing managers and centre managers and also to national and smaller retailers.  I regularly promote every fortnight as well as on my social media advertising.  In addition, as you mentioned, the online training course is accessible for free for spruikers and talent once you’re registered as well as a bunch of other resources.

For retailers and shopping centres they can actually register for free and they will  receive my newsletter, plus there is also a bunch of resources on the website that they can access to help them improve their event planning.  There’s templates, there’s tips, there’s PDFs, there’s all sorts of goodies.  And as I say it’s free for them to register and once they’ve registered for the newsletter if they find it boring…which they won’t of course, they can unsubscribe at any time.


Ron:  Right.  It’s been a pleasure talking to you Desley.  Thank you so much, and as I say I’ve known you for the last few years and done the course.  I highly recommend your course to anybody considering doing it and also registering with the agency, with SpruikerHire.com, and I’ve really got some great gigs working out of SpruikerHire.com.  So thank you so much for what you’ve set up and for what you’ve done for us personally and also what you’re doing for the community, it sounds like you’re engaged in a lot of stuff as far as the community goes as well.  So great talking with you, thank you for doing this.

Desley:  Thanks Ron, I really appreciate and I really appreciate the opportunity to share the story in more detail, that’s been awesome.

Ron:  Great!  Well we might do it again.

Desley:  Sounds good.

Ron:  Okay, have a great day!

Desley:  You too.  Thanks Ron.

Wrap Up

Ron:  Wow, what a great interview, and Desley really shared some great tips there about how to make your event a big success, drawing attention to your business, and I think that’s what spruiking is all about, Desley mentioned that.  Desley has so much knowledge in this area, and just as few points I took notes of, so impressed: 

Planning was Number One.

Having fun.

Meeting together; and making sure that you’re all on the same page.

Working out a mini plan is Number Four.

Work on a script or a dot point plan.  Great to do that just as an exercise in getting to know your products and your services anyway.

Leading by example was Number Six.  What a great one that is.

Also, making use of movement, teeming up your shop.

Incorporating smells, Number Nine, which was an interesting one.

Number 10, themeing up, dressing up.

Until next time, I’m Ron Law. Bye.



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