I did a vendor booth at an expo a few weeks ago. I was surprised by all the things I was not prepared to handle, including a new product I was attempting to sell. This surprised me because I was on the leadership team for wildly successful bi-annual vendor event for many years. I realize now, it is a bit different from being a vendor versus hosting an event.
Here are my tips for anyone who is planning to be a vendor:
1. Leverage Small Events – There is clearly a learning curve to selling from a vendor table. Start small and work out the kinks when you don’t have much traffic. Some local vendor shows are known for having almost no foot traffic. It is a great testing ground for you. These events can be valuable to learn what you can do better. One of the best ways to learn is to ask the other vendors if they have any tips to make the event more profitable. Everyone has to start somewhere and starting small has its advantages. Make it happen.
2. Plan- Take time to plan how you are setting up the booth, how you are collecting money, and how you are pitching your product. In addition, do you how are you going to handle a line of people who want to buy your product? The best way to answer these questions is to plan and do a dry run. Setup the table in your house if you have to and leverage your family to be your first customer. Assess their experience and make improvements.
3. Put on Your Seller Hat – If you are a coach remember this is not a coaching event. This is a sales event. Figure out how you get people to your table to buy your product and services. One of the things I tend to do is stand next to my table or in front of my table. That isn’t always the best approach because sometimes people want to peak without being approached. Many people coming to your both won’t be ready to buy. If they show your interest, how do you get them to take out their cash or credit card and give it to you? Your focus needs to be on getting them to buy or at least getting them into your sales funnel. You want to get them to trust you, you need to make the sign-up process easy for them, and get them to buy your solution to their problem. If you can’t make the sale that day, then collect their names and get them on your list. If they can’t buy that day, they may buy in the future. Getting them to give you their information is a good first step to getting them to buy.
4. Be Interesting – You want to be more appealing than any other vendor in the room. It can be a tall order, but if you blend in with everyone else, you are losing opportunities to make sales. I know people who bring unique items to display, make special deals just for attendees, create an interactive atmosphere, celebrate buyers, and more. I have seen people give massages, do exercises, sample products, have creative marketing posters, and conduct incredible giveaways. Make your booth visitor feel like they are the only person in the room. That you are their best resource to achieve their goals and give them something like a badge or a lanyard they can show off to everyone else when they make a relationship with you.
5. Have a great offer – Make them feel special. People buy with emotion. Tell them you thought about them before they showed up at your booth. The best way to do that is with a great offer. What can you promise them that is special for that event? What amazing bonus do they get if they make a decision today to buy? What can you do to create an experience at your booth so they then tell everyone else they should come to see your booth. This experience is easy if you’re a selling cotton candy or giving away money, but what if you are a personal trainer? It is not like they can show off their new muscles in 10 minutes or in one visit to your booth. What can you deliver to them? Can you empower them with something they can adapt at home on their own? Can you give them a little some to keep them accountable or take action? Whatever you decide, it needs to be good and worthy of telling others about you and your booth at the event. It doesn’t necessarily need to be expensive. It can be a simple noted card or bookmark with the effective action steps.
I am barely scratching the surface with this blog post. Vendor events are a possible goldmine for you if you plan for them and execute a good sales strategy. Give it your time and energy before you get to the event. By doing so, you will build good leadership habits and create a more effective method to generate sales.
I am a best-selling author, a keynote speaker, award-winning coach and the founder of The Academy of Entrepreneurial Excellence. I coach leadership high-performance habits to health and fitness professionals that get results for you and your clients.