5 Tips to Rock Your Next Direct Sales Vendor Event

(compiled from around the Interwebs and experience)

We all go to vendor events so excited about meeting people, hopefully making some sales, booking parties or even expanding our team. The event is well attended and a few people stop by and maybe enter the contest we have going but overall it’s pretty much a bust. What the hec? What went wrong? What could we have done differently?  Here are a some of the bigger do’s and don’ts that might help.

1.) No electronics (except as needed for checkout, inventory etc). No iphone, no ipad, no android etc. There is nothing that will make a potential customer glide right past a booth more than a vendor that seems totally disinterested in their own product, even life in general because they have their face buried in a phone. This may seem like an – obvi you don’t have to tell me that – scenario but I have seen at least one vendor do that at every event I have ever attended. Just no. They might as well stay home.

2.) Dress for success. This one sounds super corny but it rings true. If a seller goes to an event looking like they just rolled out of bed, it’s not conveying a very positive message to their customers. It’s kind of saying I don’t care enough about this to bother with how I look.   He/she should simply make an effort to look their best. Doing this will also make the you feel better about yourself which in turn will convey more confidence.

3.) Don’t hide behind the table if you can help it. Ideally an open setup will welcome customers into the area. But if there’s only space for one table, then try to come out from behind the table to speak to customers with a smile. I always want to stay behind the setup because that’s my comfort zone. I have to force myself to come out, but there’s no point in going if I’m going to hide the whole time.

Also standing in front of the table makes it much easier to make eye contact, engage customers, and ask questions to draw them in. Be ready to give them a sample of your product if you have one.

4.) Speaking of tables and setups, the vendor should always put some extra effort into making their booth look nice. A good way to do this is by having a multi-level display. You don’t need to spend tons of money on stands etc. Just grab a few empty boxes and put them on top of each other and keep moving them around with your product until you are satisfied. Cover with remnants from the fabric store or tablecloths you already have.

Or maybe you sell natural oils, creams, etc. Some clean unfinished crates from Home Depot might emphasize the natural theme without breaking your budget and you have the added bonus of using them to carry your items back and forth.

I always practice at home first so I’m not scrambling at the last minute at the actual event. When you have it the way you like it, snap a pic with your phone and then you will have it with you for reference if needed.  

5.) The ideal client – this can be a topic for a whole separate discussion, but I’m going to try to touch on it because it’s so important. If you have some sort of drawing or fill this out to win that contest at your table (a lot of us to this to get people’s info), you will inevitably attract the professional filler outers (I made that phrase up – but it’s pretty descriptive right? I do that a lot). The professional filler outers or PFOs have no interest in what you are selling but just want free stuff. I admit, I’ve done it haven’t you?

The idea is to determine if any of these people are your ideal client – you definitely want to engage them – or if they are PFOs, you are most likely wasting your time with them because they are not interested in your product and will never call you back.

To determine if they are your ideal client (ID) you need to ask the right question(s).

Here’s my example:

You sell nail polish strips (full disclosure that’s what I do).

Question: When was the last time you had your nails done at a salon?

Answer 1: “I never go, I’m allergic to nail polish” (not an ID)

Answer 2: “I work in a hospital, crazy hours – we are not allowed to wear polish” (not an ID)

Answer 3: “Omgosh I would love to go but I’m a busy Mom of 2 little girls, I don’t have time and can’t afford it.”  (hmmm awesome ID – nail polish strips would be the perfect solution for her price point, her time constraints and her girls can participate too!).

Do you see where I’m going with this? You really want to ask the right question(s), determine your ideal client, and don’t waste time with someone who has no interest in your product. Because if you do, you might miss a golden opportunity with someone who was going to make a big purchase or join your team.

Note – some experts recommend not doing drawings at all because it attracts too many PFOs. Instead just use a clipboard to get info for clients who really do want to be contacted or you would like to follow up with.

Your biggest assets are really your personality and mindset (I’m still working on the latter). But hopefully these tips will help with your next event and maybe stop you from losing customers or help you grow your team!

Please comment below with thoughts or questions – thanks!

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