vendor event tips
Being a vendor at an event is an exciting opportunity to showcase your products or services, connect with potential customers, network, and boost your business. If you're new to the vendor scene, don't worry! I will walk you through the process helping you set up shop and make the most of your experience.
Research and Choose the Right Event
Start by researching events that align with your business. Look for local markets, fairs, trade shows, or community events that attract your target audience. Consider factors like foot traffic, the event theme, and vendor fees. Choose an event that suits your goals and budget. At my events, I've turned down some vendors from setting up because what they had to offer wasn't right for the theme of my event. I definitely could have took their money, but I like to sleep good at night.Where I'm from in Pittsburgh, spaces are mostly $25 for a 6ft table (4+ hour long event) but I seen spaces in Chicago and Philly go for $40-$200 for <4 hour long event. If I'm not there for at least 5 hours, it's not worth it to me.
Pay attention and don't get scammed. If you meet someone online who is saying they're having an event, do the following:
If you comment "interested" on a post asking for vendors AND A TOTALLY DIFFERENT PROFILE/PERSON responds to you or messages you asking you what you sell, giving you table sizes and costs... #scamlikely
Google the venue and see where it's located on the map. If isn't an actual BUILDING/BUSINESS #scamlikely. If it is a business, get their number off google, and call to verify if there's an event happening that day and ask who's the organizer. #scamlikely if the person who answers calls for the business is confused on what you're talking about.
ALWAYS choose "goods and services" when paying for your booth space at events if paying via Paypal, Venmo, etc. I don't care what those people say! If they try and tell you about fees, that is a THEM problem. Protect yourself always. I trust paying through large platforms like Eventbrite or branded websites like mine because there is "buyer's protection" so you can get your money back. Stop using Cashapp because once its gone, its gone (note that large platforms and branded sites have fees but like I said, if things go left, you are protected).
Register for the Event
Once you've found the perfect event, reach out to the organizers to inquire about vendor opportunities. Most events have an application process, and you may need to submit details about your products or services. Be sure to ask and finalize any fees involved and deadlines for registration.
Plan Your Booth Setup
Think about how you want to present your products or services. Plan a visually appealing booth that reflects your brand. Consider elements like signage, banners, and product displays. Make sure your setup is inviting and easy for attendees to navigate. Click here to order some displays for your table.
Stock Up on Inventory
Ensure you have enough inventory to meet the demands of the event. Stock up on your best-selling products and consider offering event-exclusive promotions to attract customers. Bring extra supplies such as business cards, brochures, and a payment processing system.
Engage with Attendees
Stay off your phone unless you're taking pics/videos/going live. During the event, engage with attendees to create a positive experience. Greet people warmly, share information about your products, and encourage them to ask questions. Consider running special promotions or giveaways to capture attention. When I offer "event only" discounts, my sales increase. It creates FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). I highly recommend standing up as people are walking over to your area. Answer questions without feeling bad if you don't make a sale. See it as a way to improve your public speaking skills. One giveaway that I do is a free item if they fill out my raffle card. I require them to give me their name, mailing address (because I send quarterly post cards), and email (for my email blasts). Make sure you do the giveaway no later than a week after the event! Go live or record a video and post it on your social media. After every sale, take pictures with or of the customer holding your product or info sheet. Post it on your social media or news letter.
Accept Various Payment Methods
Make it easy for customers to make purchases by accepting various payment methods. Whether it's cash, credit cards, or digital payments, having multiple options can increase your sales. For payment processing, I use square. They offer "tap to pay" on your smartphone. Or, you can get the terminal. Just for you, if you use my referral code, you will get free processing up to $1000. As I stated before, I do not recommend Cashapp, Applepay, or Google Wallet to accept payments. It is unprofessional and neither you or the customer are protected.
Network with Other Vendors
Take advantage of the networking opportunities at the event. Connect with other vendors, share experiences, and explore potential collaborations. Building relationships with fellow vendors can lead to future business opportunities. Get everyone's business cards. If you get info about an event, share it with them. Build a better connection. There's enough money on the table for everyone.
Follow Up After the Event
After the event concludes, don't forget to follow up with potential customers. Send thank-you emails, offer exclusive post-event promotions, and invite them to connect on social media. Building a lasting relationship with customers is key to future success.
Listen, after closing my physical store in 2016 in North Carolina and attending events, I was able to reach out and connect with more customers and meet them where they were. The journey has been amazing and vending has caused me to want to travel to other cities and vend.
Becoming a vendor at an event may seem intimidating at first, but with careful planning and a positive attitude, it can be a rewarding experience for your business. Remember to choose the right event, create an attractive booth setup, engage with attendees, and follow up afterward. Good luck, and enjoy the journey of being a successful event vendor!
Before you go, download my Vendor Success checklist for $3 (Thank you for the latte 😁)!
PS: Everything that you need be successful at your next vendor event can be found on Amazon!