You make the investment to have a table or display or booth at an event. The investment includes not only your space but all the collateral that goes with it and the design of your booth.
You arrive early and set up, it looks perfect. You put on your best and brightest and friendliest smile and begin meeting participants throughout the event. You have a drawing at the event and see your jar fill up with all those wonderful prospects - LEADS! You have some great conversations and some weird ones too.
Then, the day is over. You break down your display. Hustle it back out to your car. Drive home and collapse.
The next day you are caught up with regular business commitments, a family emergency and then the weekend comes. Monday you go to get something out of your car and think, “OH crap! I need to draw my winner and send an email to these people who entered. As you unpack you realize...oh NOOOOO - the jar with all the entries isn’t here! You have NO leads.
Ok, maybe this has happened to you.
Or maybe you have not lost the leads but had no time when you returned from the event to follow up.
Sister - your fortune is in the follow up.
I have hosted many vendor booths in my 20+ year entrepreneurial odyssey and ALWAYS made connections that turned into relationships that turned into revenue. How you ask….I made a plan, stuck to the plan, added value and followed up. YOU, can do the same….with some planning.
Hosting a booth as a vendor is a multi step process - download my free checklist here on the essentials to set the experience up for your greatest success
Here are my top 10 tips to make money with your vendor experience:
Have a compelling drawing or freebie that requires attendees to give you their name and email in exchange for something of perceived high value from you. This could be a free product, or a suite of tools from your business. Unless you are a winery do not give away wine. Unless you are a retail store do not give away a free gift card to YOUR retail store. Your giveaway should be something related to your product or service. It increases the quality of the leads in your giveaway. Have a main prize and something that everyone will receive as it gives you an authentic first touch point.
Set up your vendor booth prior to going to the event - even get feedback from some colleagues on what they think. Is your signage big enough, is it clear what you do.
Never place your booth table at the front of the booth at stand behind it. It doesn’t create a warm invitation to come into your space and learn more. Move the table to the back of the booth and stand in the traffic lane.
Never sit down as people come by. Stand and be warm and welcoming.
Keep your technology put away. If you are on your phone it comes across as dismissive to attendees and they’ll scoot by you.
Confirm with the event coordinator what is included in your booth. Electricity? Table Coverings? Table? Different events will provide different things.
Bring setup shoes and event shoes. Trying to haul your set up into an event in heels is not convenient or easy - I don’t care who you are. Have flat professional and comfortable shoes suitable for walking to the venue and setting up that you can also change into when the event is over. Bring your event shoes to change into once you are all ready to go. You will be glad and your feet will thank you.
Network with other vendors. These people may become the highest ROI on your event.
Capture customer contact information for purchases made on site. You are losing the opportunity to check in with satisfaction of the purchase and reach out to offer complimentary products and reorders.
Block out 3-6 hours the day following the event to unpack your display, and repack it so it is ready to go the next time and to follow up! You’ll need to draw your winner, you will need to notify the winner and coordinate specifics on delivery of their prize. You will need to email everyone who entered letting them know who won and electronically delivering your promised item for entry.
Being a vendor at an event has the greatest value in the long run. If you are going in only thinking of the sale in the moment and say you didn’t get anything then you are missing the opportunities that have yet to unfold.
Take the time to plan before, during and after and make sure you do your follow up. Download my Free Vendor Checklist here (this is a view only file - so you will want to download and save) - no email necessary - just yours to use.
If you found this article helpful as a small business owner you will also find great value in my FREE Facebook group, The Women’s Business Profit Lab, where each week I host 30 minutes of free coaching just for women owned small business. Join today!