The Secrets to Vendoring Success
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Posted by: Ester Venouziou
Vendor events can be fun and rewarding, or they can be a complete waste of time and money. And when you leave a not-so-profitable event, it's easy to blame it all on the event organizers: They didn't advertise enough, they picked a day with many competing events, they put you next to (or far from) the music ...
And sure, that may all very well be the case. But look around and you're likely to still find that one happy vendor. The one smiling as he packs his tent, the one who tells you about the people he met and the sales he had. You shake your head, mumble to yourself, walk away.
The lesson here? It's up to you whether an event is a success. Think of it like this: OK, so you were expecting 500 attendees, and only 100 showed up. Disappointing, sure. But what if those 100 became your customers, or at least people who'd go out there and tell your friends about your business? All of a sudden 100 isn't so bad anymore.
The Secrets to Vendor Greatness
To help you be a better vendor, we
rounded up tips during a recent online discussion with eight
LocalShops1 Business Members:
- Michelle Patrick, Tampa, Lithia Appraisal Services
- Alena Shapiro, St. Petersburg, MASH Apparel
- Angelique Carter, St. Petersburg, Life Balance Management
- Tara Rose, Pinellas Park, independent contractor
- Bill Vear, St. Pete Beach, Mari-Seas Treasures
- Robin Wood, St. Petersburg, Fred's Finest Pet Treats
- Robin King, St. Petersburg, Three Birds Tavern
- Susan Leonidas, Brandon, Your Travel and Cruise Concierge
"Be enthusiastic about your product,
of energy, your customers will feel it," says Bill Vear, a LocalShops1 Business Member who sells
magnets, jewelry and art he creates with his daughter, Marisa. "I had an
elderly gentlemen set
up at an event next to me, and he was awesome. Mild mannered, native
Kentuckian, he created his own coffee line, imported the beans from
Papua New Guinea, roasted in Bradenton. He talked to everyone and anyone
to get his story out, sold cups for a buck."
"His bags were flying
out of his basket at $10 a pop."
More Top Tips
1 Be friendly. That means smiling, asking questions, having real conversations with everyone who stops by your booth. Don't sit back and read a book, text your friends, or play on your iPhone. You're working, right?
sit and lurk in tbe back of your tent," says Tara, who often staffs booths for LocalShops1. "Don't be afraid to talk to people. And for all things holy, SMILE!!!!!
Even if you have to fake it!"
"A no-sale today may
lead to a client in the future if you make a point to have authentic
conversation with that person about yourself and your business," adds Michele, founder of Lithia Appraisal Services.
2 Don't take things personally. Shoppers will come, browse, browse some more. And some will walk away. It's OK. You can't be the right fit for everyone.
be afraid of rejection," says Alena, co-founder of MASH Apparel. "Your product is not going to be for
everyone. People will make negative comments - just let it go and use
it as constructive criticism."
3 Know & love your product. If you don't, why should anyone else?
4 Pay attention to details. Make sure your tablecloth is spotless and your merchandise is sparkling. Have your brochures and business cards organized and easily accessible. And don't forget, your appearance matters, too. Afterall, you ARE your brand.
"Display should be neat, organized, CLEAN, and approachable," says Robin King, co-owner of Three Birds Tavern."Another major turn off for me is, "Oh, please don't touch
anything. If you want to see something, let me know." And how you are
dressed/groomed makes a big statement, too!
5 Make your space memorable. Stand out from the rest with creative displays, free raffles and product samples or swag. At one event around Easter one year we got a packet of plastic eggs and filled a few with golden coins, redeemable for prizes, and the rest with candy. Our booth was quite popular!
"As they say, first impressions last a
lifetime and if they remember you, the product will sell itself if they
want it," says Angelique, founder of Life Balance Management. "Also ... be a bit unique."
6 Make it easy for customers to pay. Cash is great, but many people prefer to pay by credit card. So make sure you have your smartphone and tablet, and a credit card reader. Square and PayPal's new card readers are two good options, but there are countless others out there, too. Check with your merchants services account, and compare features and pricing.
LocalShops1 is a coalition of hundreds of independently owned businesses
and tens of thousands of energetic shoppers with the mission of
advocating, promoting and offering support services to companies
throughout Tampa Bay. Founded in August 2008, LocalShops1 is the
region's most active voice for small businesses. www.localshops1.com