Hey friends! I get asked my advice about how to set up a vendor booth, what you should bring for a vendor booth and any tips that I have while manning a vendor booth. So I decided to write a blog about it.
First of all, if this is your first time to be a vendor, congratulations you are popping your direct marketing cherry so to speak. For most people displaying your goods or services in a public market can be scary and overwhelming. I always get jitters and anxiety right before a big expo or market.
I have attended markets as a customer, a vendor and produced my own vendor markets for the past five years and I can guarantee that you will never be completely ready. Here are a few tips to make you stand out, attract customers and leave a positive lasting impression.
- Understand your goals- every market is different and will require a different objective. For example: I was part of a craft show that attracted serious shoppers, I wanted to sell items so I made sure that my displays attracted attention toward my booth. Hanging products up high to attract attention was my first chance at getting them to my booth. Another event that I was part of was a Chick-fil-A event where children and their parents just lined up at a crowded mall and walked past my table looking for treats and freebies. This was not a place that I was going to get sales. I wanted to make sure that I utilized this opportunity. I quickly gathered a few items and placed them in the center of my table, I grabbed some blank paper and a pen and announced a giveaway! I took names and email addresses of those interested in my products. These parents were just trying to make it through the long line and did not have time to linger and admire my goods for sale.
- Stand out- Odds are your booth is not the only one vying for attention. You may also be a vendor that sells similar products as your neighbor. How are you going to make a lasting impression and attract the customer towards your booth? One show that I was at had two vendors that both sold similar products. Vendor A sat behind her table and complained about a similar vendor being next to her booth. Vendor B stood out in the middle of the aisle and handed out samples, smiled and greeted the shoppers with warm conversation. I like to wear a bold color, long vibrant skirt or a hat to get attention. I also stand out in the middle of the aisle and make random conversation with the shoppers. I compliment their dress, ask their children funny questions and ask them how their day is going. You have a short window to make an impression. A person will always remember how you made them feel not what you are selling.
- Positivity- You are never fully prepared for your event, no matter if you are a rookie or a veteran. Things happen, you forget your credit card swiper and even your banner. An event that I had produced I was also a vendor. My credit card swiper was being used at the gate and I had no way to take money. I grabbed my clipboard. Honestly my clipboard is always in my hand in case I need to write down something. When shoppers wanted to purchase I took their name email address and phone number (always take two forms of contact) and told them that I would invoice them the next day. I allowed the customer to take their goods and thanked them for their purchase and prompt payment upon receiving their invoice. Most people were shocked and confused. Everyone paid their invoices on time and I made the most money that day than any other event I have ever attended. Sometimes you need a little faith and trust that people are inherently kind and honest.
- Get to know your neighbors- they have a lot of advice and can be a wealth of help and information. I forgot scissors and tape and a neighboring vendor helped me out. The grandson of another vendor helped me break down my booth and load my truck. I still keep in touch with vendors that know of area events I may be interested in.
- Freebies- Always a good idea and get conversation started. I sometimes provide candy or a small toy with my business card attached. I love booths with samples, I mean who doesn’t? Service based business should offer a free or discount voucher to get customers in the door.
- Giveaways- people love free things, I know I do. If your objective is not to sell but promote your service or business, giveaways are a great way to attract potential customers and add them to your email marketing list. I also don’t leave it up to the customer to write down their information. I gladly do the work for them so they have no excuse to not enter.
- Confidence and Network often- you don’t have to be a vendor to market yourself or your business. Go to networking events and hand out your card and build relationships with positivity and interest in others. Attend vendor shows as a customer and talk to business while wearing a hat or shirt with your logo, pass out freebies and compliment the vendors on their amazing looking booths.
I naturally love to talk to people and always show a genuine interest in them first. If you are having trouble with conversation and asking the right questions remember the acronym FORM:
- Recreation or what they do for fun
- Mission their WHY and how they got started, what their passion is.
Good luck and I would love to know how this article helped you!!
“If you can not do great things, do small things in a great way.”
-Napoleon Hill 12 year old Jason McPherson makes and sells origami crane earrings.