Vendor Show Craziness

So glad it was the last of my three sets of shows. Now this is not to say I won’t do any more because I will. However, I will be different and refined about what shows I do, how I advertise them and what I do and when. I was literally beginning to feel psychotic. I mean it. Crazed.

People trying to get in last minute, people trying to send replacements, people still badmouthing me from another show, and the race to advertise and send out press releases knowing full well that no matter what you do, some, or all of your vendors are going to be unhappy with you.

I have come to terms with a few lessons for myself and some tips for myself and others I thought might be helpful:

Do what you love.

When you stop loving it, it becomes work. I was not in love with the shows I was doing and how I was doing them so I changed the plan. Instead of going to shows, I put on shows. Then, I hated that too. So, unless it is a show I will like, no matter what, I refuse to do it.

Enjoy the Show

Sound redundant I know but I promise you it is not. There is a Lenka song called Enjoy the Show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7AGAe3WzMc

The whole point is to stop complaining, stop griping and stop worrying, just Enjoy the Show. I apply this to my life as well as to the vendor shows. No matter what happens, I decided on this last one especially to just enjoy the show.

Make Love not War

Some of you might understand the reference. My point here is to be happy. Make friends. Make connections. Get leads. Get contacts. Get leads.  Be happy about whatever outcome you get. Be Happy.

Stand Up Get Up Stand Up for your Right

Stand up at shows. If you have to get a cushioned mat or double up a towel to stand on do it. Sitting down at a show says tot he consumer “I am not engaged in your business”. Stand up, greet them, share with them a deal you are having. It makes a big difference. Also get out from behind the booth. Sit on the side or make your booth so you can be in front.

Put Down the Cellphone and No One Gets Hurt

So many times, sadly most especially NEW vendors or young vendors sit at a booth on their cell phones or smart phones. Again, if a customer walks by you and sees you on the phone, you are telling them you don’t care. Besides, not using it will save your batteries for when you need to use it to make a sale. Turn off your apps. Clear messages out. Put the phone down. If you are bored, bring things to do, or take time to talk to the vendors around you. Look at their displays. Network.

Learn from other Vendors

I have changed my booth and displays more than I can count. I do so because I learn from others by looking around at how they are displaying something ask ask them about it. If I really like it, I ask if they mind if I did something like it. Generally, most people are willing and desirous to share. This is also why it is good to put your cellphone down and engage in those around you. It will help you all be more successful.

Talk about your Brand 

Develop your 3 minute spiel about your brand. Don’t make them feel like they can’t get away. Don’t talk for hours. Just give them a few tidbits.  Share a deal. Answer questions. Ask them about their day, Ask them about the show. Ask them if they are looking for anything imparticular. At least , TALK. Don’t just sit there or stand there like a mouse. They don’t’ know your brand. You do.

The System

I have devised a new plan I am going to start implementing at all my shows from now on. I am going to adhere a sticker to my card or have special cards made per show that say the name or the date of the show. Why? Because then when someone calls me and says “ I got your card somewhere.” I can ask “Does it have a sticker on it or did it come with a special card?” Then they can tell me the date or what the card said and I can start entering it into a tracking system. This way I can see  these thing in my new system

Vendor Show Name

Date(s) of the Show

Estimated # of people attended (came to my booth) ( if you make a certain # of items to give as mini gifts then you know how many stopped by the booth once those are gone)

Sales per show

Referral by someone at the show?

Response afterwards

By capturing this date, I then can tell which shows I get the most out of. I am even thinking of creating a Google Docs form that asks Show Survey. How did they hear about it? etc.

Last show I made 30 gifts. They were all gone. So I know at least 30 people came to the show. Then we had stragglers before AND after so I would say about 50 people probably stopped by. I wish it was more like 100 but hey, at least SOME people stopped in!!

Shows are for Leads, Sales are Nice

Most shows were created to get leads. Get info, get contacts. Share your brand. Get your cards out. If you get sales, that is great. It is like the dessert after a meal. This is why creating a Feedback or Survey even if only for yourself, is a good idea. Then you can see where those leads are coming from.

I hate it when others say “That show sucked, I didn’t make any money. I didn’t even get my booth rent back.” Well, honestly, how do you know that? Are you literally saying NO ONE took your card. No one will contact you for business? You didn’t book a aprty? You didn’t hand out your card? You didn’t talk to anyone? Unless you can answer those with NO’s, then you really dont know. Unless you are tracking results and you can see that nothing came in from that show. Then guess what….??? You did get SOMETHING out of it.

You got experience. You made connections. You also learned, Don’t do that show again. lol. Seriously. Or maybe you know about the location. You learned if a location of a show is good or bad.

GIVE FEEDBACK/ SUGGESTIONS

AS Vendor Planners, we DO appreciate feedback. Honestly. If you are unhappy or you have ideas how to make things better, contact us, tell us. We want to know. If you don’t tell us, how can we be better?

No Gossiping or Back Talking

Please just talk to the Vendor Planner. Don’t go talking smack about them. We will hear. I also have been bad about this to other planners. In an effort to help another planner be warned from a bad vendor, I perhaps have spoke too openly about it. I am not perfect and after it was brought to my attention, I realized that sharing my thoughts openly may not be taken the right way. It could potentially make ME look bad and that is not what I want of course. I am not perfect. But I can learn.

Family Emergency

Please use Family Emergency if it really IS a family Emergency. I had six people cancel on me last minute. Now either there was a major crisis this weekend, or some people used that as an excuse not a reason. Most vendor shows clearly state no refund. We are not going to change that because it is or isn’t a family emergency. You are a big kid. Just state. You will not be able to be there. Or tell the real reason if you must say anything. Either way you are not getting your money back, so why lie?

Check the Address BEFORE the Show

The planner should have sent out an email of all the info. The map or Google directions or the address. don’t rely on Social Media, use the info the planner sent you in the email. In a place like des moines, there is Des Moines, East Des Moines, South and West Des moines and many of the addresses sound alike.

Be on Time

If you checked the address, you shouldn’t have to worry about getting lost because you SHOULD know exactly where you are going. Thus, you should be on time. There should be a set up time (s) and you should be set up BY the time of the show. If you are gonna be late, please try to let the planner know. It is not the planners job to chase you down.

Get Confirmation, then Mark your Calendar 

It is up to YOU to make sure you have been confirmed for the show and mark your calendars. Hearing “I forgot” lately however did not make me happy. The vendor could have at least tried to still attend my event.

Don’t Book too far in Advance: Replacements Not allowed

With a lot of vendors NOT allowing replacements, it is better for you to book only a month or two in advance, not a year. You will be out money and a replacement WON”T be allowed to show up.

………………………………..

I know that was a lot of info to digest but I didn’t want to forget to tell you things.

Please comment, send feedback or any other suggestions or questions you might have.

Until Next Time,

XOXO Trisha Trixie

 

More Vendor Planning Lessons Learned

When I did Vendor Planning years ago the market was such a different market. For one we did not have Facebook that people would expect to message you on and reach out to you. Honestly I wish I could turn off FB Messenger just for that reason. It is not a viable way or means of reaching out to someone as not everyone uses it and some people never look at it.

Also, back then everything was handwritten contracts and checks. Now I am happy that the internet allows us to use Paypal and Square to make that more seamless as I can’t even tell you how many bounced checks I would get or how many people would show up saying they would pay me on that day and then never would.

But still, even with those issues, I would rather be back in that time of Event Planning. I used to plan Weddings, Birthday Parties, Office Parties, Launch Parties and Vendor Parties. It was so different then. The people were different, the expectations we different, and for vendor events, the vendors were different.

Nowadays we have the younger generation of vendors who have entitlement issues expecting that they just show up, paly on the phone and people should WANT to stop by their booth and buy from them. This is not the case. You need to be proactive. Just showing up does nothing. Stand up. Greet your customer. Look ready to do business with them. If you are playing on your phone you are not prepared to meet or greet them and they often will just walk by you. The person next to you who IS engaged and proactive will end up then getting that business. That is not the vendor next to you’s fault that you don’t know how to get a customer or a sale.

Every vendor show I have recently done has allowed me to learn a new set of rules, ideas and thoughts abotu teh shows tht I want to share with you because I feel honestly, maybe people just don’t know these things.

None of these are a personal attack on anyone, it is merely lessons I learned and things for you to take note on.

Vendor Kids and Babies:

Having your child stop by, having them sit with you for the first hour, or the last, this I understand.  Vendor kidlets need to stay home otherwise. If your child is old enough to have their own mini booth or help you do sales, that is a different issue. I used to go to the Swap Meet at 8 years old and help my grandpops. Children get ancy,  babies cry, these are all human nature for their age. I understand about them being children.  However, a vendor show is not the right venue to bring them because it stifles that child in them. Even a 4 hour show is a LONG time for a child to have to try and be quiet, most especially a baby.

I understand there are issues and reasons why you can’t, but professional courtesy is to tell the planner your situation if you really have no one else or if the husband is away. It makes it easier for the planner to combat off remarks from guests or vendors.

Replacement Vendors: Even if you have everything covered with the planner, it is up to each new vendor to reach out and connect. Not only is it professional it assures you and the planner that you and they have everything ready for you and there are no surprises with tables  not being there for you. Another planner I spoke with this week said she doesn’t even allow replacements. I think this rule is something I need to adopt as well. This last show I had THREE replacements and one didn’t even tell me it was going to be someone else until they showed up.  As a planner, make it clear what you allow because this can get sticky. Believe me, I know.  I have had to deal with the aftermath of this situation since this last show because of it.

Toil Trouble or should I say Toilet: If you are at an event, don’t use wads of TP. Also, don’t use a vendors toilet for your Teet from the Seat time or (sorry to be so blunt) use it to take the dump of a lifetime. And if you clog it up, be mature enough to say so. A floor full of water and an out of order toilet doesn’t help the rest of the vendors, or the guests who are trying to enjoy the show. Guests have to go home to or someone else to facilitiate themselves, they walk out with the business they were going to give you. 😦

Be Prepared: Not every vendor or craft show has tables and chairs. It is up to you to have those items for yourself. Always bring them with you EVEN IF the vendor says they have one for you. Then in case there is a mishap, one doesn’t get held for you, or there is a miscommunication,  you are covered. Also make sure you have your tablecloths, swipe card and a back up if wifi isn’t working or if they don’t have it. Have receipt books, or use the new Offline Mode. It is up to YOU to make sure you have all the things you need for business.

Vendor Space: Abide to your vendor space. If you pay for one spot, don’t bring a load of stuff and push your way into another space. If you need to bring a drill and two men to set it up for you, then you might have too large a space for a small event. That style of setup is more geared for an EXPO not a small Craft or Vendor Show. Also, if you have to move things around so you can fit, please be respectful and put things back they way you found or at least let the vendor planner know. I spent a lot of extra time putting things back because vendors moved them around. Your booth should be able to set up and take down in one hour. Planners often have to pay for the extra time for set up and tear down and often that cost is nto relayed to you. If it was your $25 booth would have been, $50 or $100. Please be respectful of their time and respectufl of other vendors space as well.

Spot Reservations Special Needs or Issues: If you have a tall banner, a tall back drop, are allergic to scents, or need or desire any special access, please make sure to tell the planner of that ahead of time. Showing up the day of and asking to be moved creates hardships. It is better to know beforehand.

Not happy with your surroundings? If you say nothing then you are not allowing the planner to help alleviate the problem. Please be open with the planner and talk to them about your issues. If you feel like you are not being heard, SAY SO! Say “I feel like I am not being heard” Then we or I would at least say ” What may I do to help you feel you ARE being heard?” and then we can try to alleviate it. Please don’t drone on complaining. Complaining for the sake of complaining gets no resolution accomplished. No one ends up learning anything and then both parties feel frustrated and harsh words can be said on either side.

Also, please go directly to the person you have an issue with. do not go to your upline and complain. Go to the planner. If you are mature enough to have a booth and sell at a show, you should be mature enough to handle the situation on your own. If not, do me a favor, don’t come to my shows. Seriously. I expect vendors to be mature and respectful. I expect them to be able to handle their own battles. I expect them to get their own sales. It is not my job to sell their product for them. That is on them.

Lessons, Classes, Training: I realize some people don’t know how to sell, are just starting out, don’t know things like standing up at your booth looks better than sitting down, I get it. You may be uneducated when it come to how to run a great booth. I will try and have some suggestions and such on my blog, but also consider there are MANY resources at our disposal now and MANY for free. Google things, research, take E-Courses, learn from Kat Rocketship at Make/Break classes, or look on You Tube. go to networking or local seminars where they teach you those things. It will make a difference in not only how you present yourself, the brand you are representing or your own brand, but it will also change the amount and value of your sales.

I apologize if this post in any way seems snarky. I have tried to re-edit it as many times as possible. This last show wore on me so much that I seriously am thinking about getting out of the Vendor Market after my next upcoming show. The positive I got out it was the lessons I learned that I am trying to share with you. Perhaps I am not coming across the best in this post because it was quite frustrating to me. I am not trying to offend anyone or hurt anyone’s feelings. I feel these things need to be relayed and said so others can learn from them too.

I wish you all well and hope these things are helpful to you in any way possible.

Until Next Time,

XoXo Trisha Trixie

 

Meetings & Conventions

I signed up for this site and newsletters because I do a lot of Tradeshows and this year a majority of my focus is on conventions and Expos. I was always told

if you want to do it like they do in the big leagues you have to think like a big leaguer.

So, I happened upon this site when I did the Home and Garden Expo this year and though it is a tad bit more robust than what I need right now, I think it is a great jumping off point for seeing how others in teh the industry higher up are doing it.

Here is the site

http://www.meetings-conventions.com/ 

I alos like this Group from LinkedIn

Party Plan Companies Networking Club

Party Plan Companies Networking Club

I am waiting to be approved by a group that I think will also help, but someone of these groups are very private so not sure if I will get in

  • TradeShowExperts

    TradeShowExperts

    Membership Pending
    Either way The Meetings and Conventions site I feel is well worth checking out. See what you think and if you find anything else or other Meeting and Convetion or Expo Groups and links, comment below. I would love to see what you find out. 🙂
    Until Next time,
    XoXo Trisha Trixie

Shows

ImageImageImageImage

Last year I did a ton of Vendor based Shows. Some I loved and made tons of money (Iowa Comic Con was a big hit) and some I hated because I stood around and didn’t make one sale at all (Small Waukee, Iowa Show). All of the shows had their own uniqueness to them of course, but I started realizing a set of things about each show.

  • There is a difference between Craft Fairs, Craft Shows, Vendor Shows, Tradeshows and Expos
  • Craft fairs/ Craft Show

    A craft fair is an organized event to display crafts. There are craft shops where such goods are sold and craft communities, such as Craftster, where expertise is shared.

  • Tradesman/ Tradeshow

    Main article: Tradesman

    A tradesman is a skilled manual worker in a particular trade or craft. Economically and socially, a tradesman’s status is considered between a laborer and a professional, with a high degree of both practical and theoretical knowledge of their trade. In cultures where professional careers are highly prized there can be a shortage of skilled manual workers, leading to lucrative niche markets in the trades.

  • A vendor, or a supplier, in a supply chain is an enterprise that contributes goods or services in a supply chain. Generally, a supply chain vendor manufactures inventory/stock items and sells them to the next link in the chain.

    Vendor

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    For the unincorporated community in Arkansas, see Vendor, Arkansas.

    A vendor, or a supplier, in a supply chain is an enterprise that contributes goods or services in a supply chain. Generally, a supply chain vendor manufactures inventory/stock items and sells them to the next link in the chain.

    Vendor However, today it means a supplier of any good or service. A vendor, or a supplier, is a supply chain management term that means anyone who provides goods or services to a company or individuals. A vendor often manufactures inventoriable items, and sells those items to a customer.

    Purchase orders are usually used as a contractual agreement with vendors to buy goods or services.

    Vendors may or may not function as distributors of goods. They may or may not function as manufacturers of goods. If vendors are also manufacturers, they may either build to stock or build to order.

    ‘Vendor’ is often a generic term, used for suppliers of industries from retail sales to manufacturers to city organizations. ‘Vendor’ generally applies only to the immediate vendor, or the organization that is paid for the goods, rather than to the original manufacturer or the organization performing the service if it is different from the immediate supplier.[1]

    Trade fair

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    IBM stand during CeBIT 2010 at the Hanover fairground, the largest exhibition ground in the world, in Hanover, Germany.

    A trade fair (trade show, trade exhibition or expo) is an exhibition organized so that companies in a specific industry can showcase and demonstrate their latest products, service, study activities of rivals and examine recent market trends and opportunities. In contrast to consumer fairs, only some trade fairs are open to the public, while others can only be attended by company representatives (members of the trade, e.g. professionals) and members of the press, therefore trade shows are classified as either “Public” or “Trade Only”. A few fairs are hybrids of the two; one example is the Frankfurt Book Fair, which is trade-only for its first three days and open to the general public on its final two days. They are held on a continuing basis in virtually all markets and normally attract companies from around the globe. For example, in the U.S. there are currently over 10,000 [1] trade shows held every year, and several online directories have been established to help organizers, attendees, and marketers identify appropriate events.
    Now that I have given you a little history, onto the lesson….

  • Not all shows are planned well
  • Not all shows are marketed well
  • Not all Vendor Planners know what they are doing
  • Not all areas are best to sell at
  • Some shows are just NOT worth the drive
  • Some shows provide a table some dont (Make sure you have your own set up just in case. Table, chair, tablecloth covers, business cards, a candy bowl, info about other shows you are going to, a newsletter sign up if you have one, at least $100 cash, your app for selling with a CC (Square, Pay Anywhere, Swipe, etc) and most of all your smile))
  • Some shows are NOT worth the cost
  • Some shows you barely make your table rent
  • Some shows you will never make back your table rent
  • Some shows are worth making NO money at the show, because you will make TONS of money in leads after the show
  • Each show price seems to have it’s own meaning behind it
    • A $25 show generally seems to be a craft or church show. Great for starting to do shows and get your name out there
    • A $50 show is a set up. Generally you will make money at these shows and the planners generally know what they are doing
    • A $100 starts becoming a risk. Some planners jump into these big shows and they have to have high rent to pay for their spaces. This does NOT necessarily mean they know what they are doing or that it will be a good show
    • Anything over $100 tend to be an Expo. Expos I just found out last weekend as I just did my first expo is a catch 22. For me, I barely made my table rent but I got a ton of leads from others and handed out tons of cards. Of course being I JUST did this show, I won’t be able to accurately say at this time if I will make money off that show or not.For others, they were either in the same boat as me or they sold like hotcakes, doing very well. I seem to notice the majority of those were food vendors.So it would seem to me that if you are a food vendor, you will do well at any show as long as you have samples.
  • Amount of spaces matter for certain types of business
    • A small show tends to be about 20-25 spaces. This is best for those who do crafts, handmade items and want to start doing shows.
    • A medium show tends to have about 25-50 spaces. This is better for those that have been doing shows for awhile and have established a following
    • A large show is about 50-100 spaces and best for small business and direct sales teams
    • An expo is best for companies, organizations and possibly a small business that wants to leap into the next step of shows.
  • Vendor Drama. Wow I could write a whole series on Vendor Drama and I jsut might. Locally it has been crazy here. We have had people being taken by vendor planners left and right. We have had people stalking other vendor planners. We have had people bad mouthing other vendor planners. We have even had people pretending to be other vendor planners and steal their clients and money!!
  • Facebook/ LinkedIn Groups for shows
  • There are a variety of groups for shows so it would be crazy to try and list them all, especially since each are is different. I will tell you however, what to search for…
  • Local
  • Vendor
  • Tradeshow
  • Tradefair
  • Craft Show
  • Stay at Home Groups who sell
  • Handmade
  • Direct Sales
  • Small Business
  • Business Groups
  • Then search for anything that is in the field you do… like I do Fashion, Handmade, Local and Aprons so I would look for those groups

Lastly, I want to tell you to do your homework. On everything. Don’t just jump into a group. Read the rules and get to know how others do things. Check up on all Vendors and Planners and make sure they are legit. Search things out and check things before giving money. Make sure the planners can tell you where the money is going, how they are advertising, how many attendees they plan to have, is this their first show or do they have experience, etc. That doesn’t mean don’t go, it just means you now know what to expect once you have that info.

Try out a few shows. See what works for you. See what set ups you need. I have changed my set up over and over and am always looking for better ways to do things. I enjoy going to shows but it does get exhausting. Long Expos like I just did that are FOUR LONG DAYS wore me out, so my lesson there is for me not to do too many of those. All shows I feel are worth trying once.

Oh also, don’t be afraid to ask if there are other options, especially with big expos. They want the $$ but if you ask enough times you will find they might have a special handmade section of the show or All Iowa that is a cheaper booth rent and worth you being connected to that show!!

Hope this has helped you to know more about shows as a Vendor and a Vendor Planner. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

If you are a guest only at these shows, perhaps this has helped you see what chaos goes into these shows and might help you to appreciate them more! 🙂

Until next time,

XoXo Trisha Trixie