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The Secrets to Vendoring Success

Wednesday, March 27, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Ester Venouziou
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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:

"Be enthusiastic about your product, positive, full 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?

"Don't 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.

"Engage every single person who visits your booth," says Susan, who runs a  travel company. "Even if they do not (make a) purchase ... they may know of someone who is in the market for it. Also remember the golden triangle of marketing: know, like, trust."

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.

"Don't 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!

"Pay attention to your display," agrees Robin Wood, owner of Fred's Finest Pet Treats. "All the attention you may want to give each individual won't do any good if you don't know how to best present your product."

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.

About LocalShops1
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.