Looking to Make the Most out of your Trade shows this season? We’ve literally done 100’s of trade shows all over North America. Big or Small, if you don’t do them right, you’re just throwing your money away. Check out this article to learn from my mistakes and ensure that you’re going to come out successful this trade show season.
If you’re like us November and December are jammed packed with trade shows. Big or small you can find so many great local shows providing everyone all their Christmas goodies. If you’re looking for a great way to build your business, trade shows are where it’s at. Even as an online company the feedback and connections we make, makes all the hard work, worth while. Trade shows don’t always pay out at that moment, especially if you are doing network sales but Be patient, pick your shows wisely and follow these tips and tricks on how to make the most out of your trade shows.
First and Foremost you need a good set up. No matter big or small, new or old, people are judging your booth and appearance. A trade show works like a casino in the way crowds flow and peoples brains react to the stimulus around. Be eye catching and professional looking. If I can give any piece of advice, it’s get a professional tablecloth first. Trade shows may all be different but they have one thing in common, A table. Unless your a clothing shop, you’ll probably want a table to feature your products on. Some smaller craft shows are just tables set out in rows so banners aren’t a big deal. Having a nice tablecloth will showcase your logo right in the front of the table and will draw people in. A tablecloth will cost you anywhere between 99-400 bucks, If you are just starting out you may think that this is a huge expense, it’s not, it’s the best investment you can make. Trust me.
Next up is a banner. Sure it’s nice to get all fancy. I have banners that come with their own suitcase and fold out to this amazingly branded wall but you don’t need it. One of the most important factors about your trade show banner is mobility. Believe me these big walls are a nightmare for travel and setting up alone. If you’re just starting out I recommend those pull up banners or just a banner printed from Vista Print for $20-$50. If you want to go big and make the investment, look into a fabric tension banner. These are lighter and easier set up for one person. They are expensive, expect to spend $1500-$3000 on one of these, but welcome to the Big Leagues, customers/competitors will take notice.
How you set up your table with the products is up to you, keep the table full but not over crowded and experiment with what works best for your customers. Pictures/ Prices in Acrylic stands or small table pop up banners are a nice touch.
Take the time to get professional business cards done, Vista Print can do wonders for $20. Bring A LOT. This is what your customers sees and takes away to remember your brand.
Remember that you are your brand as well. Go to Vista Print and get a $12 shirt made with your logo. Do not sit down, the first thing I do at trade shows is get rid of the chairs, sure this sucks but the next time you attend a trade show, look around, you’ll see what I mean.
Limit your cellphone usage, nothing looks more unprofessional than someone slouched in a chair all zombie like in Facebook land.
You’ve paid good money to be there and grow your business. Now obviously we all get tired and sometimes shows are slow, but just keep your appearance to the customers in mind. You may think that the big dude walking down the aisle isn’t a customer but I promise you, at least once per show, you’ll get one customer that shocks you and that’s usually the biggest sale. Everyone is a customer and you are the brand.
Picking the Show
There are so many shows out there. Some Big, some small. Sometimes Big shows are a flop and sometimes small shows make you jump for joy. Unfortunately this is a little bit of a trial and error. For the first time bookers with a limited budget, look for a small local show. I recommend staying away from craft sales and church basement sales, unless you sell crafts or cookies. These usually have very small crowds that aren’t there to spend money. As important as experience is, no one wants to work for free, believe me you’ll have plenty of time to do that as your business grows. For me organizers like these http://www.mommylicious.ca or https://www.facebook.com/Kingscourtevents have awesome shows with super reasonable booths. Of course these are local organizers in my area, but it’ll give you an idea. Once you get to an event, use the down time to speak to other vendors. Vendors are the best source of information for your next event. Each show I go to that I see my “usual crew” we all get together, pull out the calendars and start trading info. The other thing you’ll find is that your best sales can come from other vendors, but we’ll discuss that later. Smaller shows can run anywhere between $20-$150 for a table.
Keep on the look out for marketplaces in bigger shows. For example, I do a large Home Show every year. They offer half of the building as a market place to keep the wives busy while the guys shop for tools. These shows have a great draw and usually offer affordable tables.
If you’re looking to invest some money and dive head first into the trade shows you’ll want to do your research. I think I’ll assume if you are reading this blog post you are involved with holistic health and or essential oils, so we’ll stick with that. Any plumbers reading this, Do NOT book these shows.
Look for any Health, Wellness, Fitness, Yoga, Spiritual shows going on around you. If you can get some advice from past vendors, try and do so. Some of these shows only make their money off selling $1000 booths and not making you money, so be careful. These crowds may be smaller but obviously more focused. If this is just for the essential oil businesses, this type of show may be too focused and all the attendees there already use or sell oils. You’ll find they are tight communities and you want to do is expand your customer base not hang out with other oil users (Even though that’s fun too). For this I recommend Home Shows, Health Shows, Family Expos, and Pet Shows. Great demographic of customers for you. One lady even told me that her best show is a Gun Show to sell essential oils at, go figure.
Don’t be afraid to travel a little outside of the town or city. Smaller centres normally have great rates and customers starving for entertainment like this.
Offer a variety of products
By this I don’t mean offering German sausages at your Home made lotion booth. I mean to stock your booth with a wide range of products that represent you. When we first started we only offered the Essential Bracelet, we did well but not everyone just wanted an Essential Bracelet. They wanted a Necklace or a Diffuser or a Spray Bottle. Since we started adding a larger variety of products our sales have tripled. If you’re a lotion company, have soaps and scrubs. If you’re essential oil company have necklaces and roller bottles. Little ad ons can make a world of difference, Especially if you are a Network Sales company. Having actual, tangible sales will keep the motivation alive and help pay for your next booth. Need ideas on stuff to sell at your next event? Essential Bracelet and Aroma BLING offers wholesale prices and is always looking for new distributors. Send us an email to email@example.com.
Look at the Calendar
I have made this mistake so many times and will probably continue to but maybe if trained early enough, you can catch yourself. You’ll find that some shows will try and tie onto another bigger show. You’ll find that this can sometimes hurt you. On the other hand if the shows around are complimenting, then that’s even better. You’ll also want to keep in mind what holidays or activities are going on. Doing a trade show on Super Bowl Sunday sucks, believe me.
How do I find events?
This is probably one of the hardest parts of the job. I find it very hard to keep up with the trade show scene and run my business. I recommend making trade show friends, joining Facebook groups and following event organizers. If you see an event, either show interest on Facebook or write it on a calendar. This will keep you in the loop. If you are in a competitive network company like Young Living or Arbonne, you will need to book well in advance as most organizers will not allow 2 of the same companies in the same event.
I think I may need to turn this into a 3 part series as I have only scratched the surface on Trade shows. Trade shows will either get in your blood or you’ll hate them. Don’t give up too soon, I think everyone who attends a lot of shows hates them to some degree but when that starts coming across to customers, pull the plug and find another way to do business.
I hope this article has helped you, if you have any other questions on how to grow your business, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1.844.834.2555. We’ll be happy to help. Good luck on your next trade show and stay tuned for more trade show tips from Essential Bracelet.