When considering your place as a vendor, ask yourself these questions. What do I hope to get out of participating in this event? Is it quick cash by selling on the spot items? Or, do I want to meet potential long-term customers? What is the upfront charge to secure a space for my table? Do I then have to pay a percentage of my earnings to the vendor committee in charge of this event? Is that cost worth the amount of time & exposure I may or may not get?
By analyzing your expectations before paying for your space, you can avoid wasted time, money and energy. Once you do decide to set up shop (so to speak) at an event, focus on the 3 A’s of being a vendor: Attraction, Authenticity, Attitidue
Create a Memorable Attraction
When you choose to reserve a spot at a vendor event, dress appropriately and plan your table accordingly. Appear clean, organized, with an air of simple sophistication. Imagine yourself, first, as a consumer at the event. Then anticipate what expectations you have as an attendee. I’m often drawn to the simple, pretty and organized tables. As such, it is easier to meet a stranger when that person is down-to-earth and ordinary, while still appearing professional and passionate about her business.
Know your audience and bring items tailored for sharing with that audience. You needn’t have everything you sell on top of the table. You can store extra items, including possible items that someone may inquire about, underneath the table and hidden by a tablecloth. A large cloth table covering in a solid color makes everything on top of your table pop and isn’t distracting. Too many colors, patterns and products can be overwhelming to a consumer and draw focus away from the actual products or services you have for sale.
In my business, a lot of moms are attracted to my table because of the alternative health benefits of essential oils. In this case, I will set out a few of my most favorite oils to use for health issues at my house, typically issues with children. Under the table, however, I keep other products such as lotions, cleaners and supplements that may be interesting to only a handful of people, but not the majority.
Other items to include on the table are business cards, brochures, a book that you reference often, a few samples and maybe a drawing for a free gift. Try not to have too many distractions on your table, though. What you need to avoid is the possibility of losing an actual conversation that may be generated between you and consumer. To get the most from your vendor table, you need to know what the consumer wants to buy. You will learn this through conversation, and and as a result, will be able to offer a suggestion or two.
Exemplify an Authentic Self
Maybe you don’t have what someone is looking for? That is okay! Never feel like you’re failing if people pass by your table or a conversation isn’t generated. The most important thing in being at an event, and setting your passion out for the world to see, is that you are gaining exposure. Networking a small business means you need exposure. Whether people respond at this event, or in the future, the exposure and an honest, respectable first impression is what you are truly aiming for by being a vendor.
WIth my business, I want people to see what I’m doing and feel like it is something they can do, too. I try to make my business duplicatable. Because of that, I don’t bring any products to an event that I myself wouldn’t use, have never tried or don’t like. In a sense, I preach what I practice. There is a learning curve with using therapeutic-grade essential oils. I went through it; everyone in my organization went through it. We are constantly sharing with each other: ideas, product tips, lifestyles, goals, dreams. And so, by sharing, listening and having an authentic conversation with someone at an event, I am demonstrating what I want in my organization.
I never force a sale at an event. It’s not my style; I’m completely out of my comfort zone when I think I have to make a sale. I don’t like giving sales-pitches because I don’t want anyone in my organization shoving products onto someone who is not ready for a lifestyle change, no matter how minute. I want all of us sharing and educating our families and friends, allowing our loved ones the opportunity of living a healthier, more abundant life, if they so choose.
Promote a Favorable Attitude
So, when you’re a vendor at an event, make it a goal to be friendly and organized. Answer questions as best you can to your ability, and don’t try to educate someone on something you don’t know much about. For those situations, rely on what you have personally experienced and be open to learning something new yourself!
Help guide a conversation by asking questions and learning about peoples’ needs and wants. Always leave them with a way to contact you or find out more information. Maybe you have an upcoming class, conference call or seminar they would like to attend or participate in.
A smile on your face, no matter how tired you may be, will help make you an approachable person. When you are approachable (and your table looks simply organized!) a conversation may spark that will change your lives (and your business)!