5 Things I Learned About Being A Vendor at an Expo!
Have you ever attended an expo & wondered about what goes on behind the scenes? Well, I recently had the pleasure of being a vendor at a local Women’s Expo near my home and I presented my scrubs store - Beyond Medwear Apparel.
This was my first expo, and it was a pleasant, eye-opening experience that I will never forget. I didn’t realize the work that goes into preparing for an expo, from designing to decorating your booth down to the essentials like equipment that will be needed. I came away that day with five things that I think should be of importance if you plan on being a vendor at one of these events.
- Know your target audience in advance. There’s no point in becoming a vendor at a gun show if you’re selling children’s books. Knowing what type of audience that will be present can save you time & money so that you can focus on your ideal target. Before registering or making a payment it is important to ask the organizer questions to find out the target population, as well as ensuring that you’ll be the only vendor showcasing your type of merchandise. You don’t want to get there to find out you’re one of three make-up booths at the event.
- Don’t try to sell your products using a sales pitch. For example, “Hi My name is Bob, and I sell…” Most attendees are there to get free items, or samples of raffle items. They don’t want to hear your sales pitch. You only have a few seconds to sell yourself and your products, so use them wisely. I learned that by smiling, asking them how they’re doing and making eye contact to illicit small talk. Then I would let them know that I’m showcasing my products & how it would be beneficial for them to check it out. Whatever you do, don't mention the word “buy”.
- It is imperative to be very knowledgeable about your products and pricing. Remember that the customer is experiencing sensory overload from the products and vendors that they are seeing in one setting. Know your products & the price of each of your items. Listing the price of your items on your products may seem like a good idea yet, once the buyer sees the sticker price you may risk the chance of losing their attention. Sometimes they end up paying more attention to the price than what you’re trying to convey to them. Remember you are trying to engage with your audience. Use this time to inform them of why your product is unique or simply the best. It’s always good to have a price list available so that whoever is helping you can quickly refer to it if needed. For example, we carried two devices so that my husband can refer to the uniform scrub prices from our website or POS for reference. I even wrote the scrubs prices in a binder index card in case we had technical issues.
- Do wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Standing for 5-8 hours is a guarantee at an expo. You want to be prepared for a long day. Best way to do that is to wear loose and comfortable clothing, shoes with arch support like THESE shoes. Luckily for me I had that department covered. I wore my fashionably cute Ultimate black scrub pant joggers, my T-shirt promoting Beyond Medwear Apparel and a jacket for the cold ballroom.
- Last, but not least, don’t spend a lot of money buying stuff to decorate your booth. Don’t get me wrong, you want it to be visually pleasing to the eye. Do invest in a banner and I also recommend using items from home to show your products. I used my shelving from home to show off my badge reels. My Styrofoam head for my wigs as props to showcase my surgical caps & bouffant, and of course a bag of variety candy to offer for free. Everyone loves free items.
In the end remember you are there to showcase your brand & products. Smile while telling people about your items; what it can do for them and make some sales and valuable connections.
See you at the next expo!