How to Rock Your Next Direct Sales Vendor Event

Direct Sales Tips and Tricks

While 2020 hasn’t exactly been a great time for vendor events, take this downtime to perfect your vendor event strategies. While in-person vendor events may be on hold for now, hopefully, by the holiday’s things will be looking up for socially distanced vendor event fun, or we’ll be seeing lots of virtual events pop up! Either way, vendor events are an incredible sales tool you need to maximize when we’re able again. Vendor events can be a little tricky and intimidating if you’ve never done them before, but they can also be HUGE money makers for your direct sales business. 

When I first started in direct sales, one of the first things I learned is that my friends and family could only buy so many things. I needed to get out of that friends and family circle. The first tip I would always share with my new team members is if you want to see success, you need to RUN from that friends and family circle! 

One perfect way to expand your circle? Vendor events! Put yourself out there, get the proper strategy, and follow-up in place, and you will see the rewards. 

At the end of my direct sales career, I had vendor events down to a science. Here are my top tips for how to rock your next vendor event!

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BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR GOALS

If you know me even the littlest bit, you know I’m obsessed with goal setting. 

When you’re thinking about the event, what do you want to get out of it? Do you want bookings or sales? Maybe your company offers a registry option, and you want to sign up some brides for registries with you. It’s up to you to figure out what your goals are. 

As someone with a Pampered Chef business, my goal was always to book parties. I couldn’t have all my items there to sell directly, but I didn’t need them because I knew I’d ultimately make more booking parties. 

When you’re at a vendor event, it’s pretty clear what people’s goals are. You walk down the aisles, and you’ll see Stacey with a bunch of hair products laid out on display. Whereas you see Sally in the next aisle with not much on display, just chatting people up. Stacey is selling; Sally is booking parties. See what I mean? 

For ladies who have businesses like nail decals which can load a lot of product up in the car, vendor events are perfect for selling. But, for those in a business-like Pampered Chef, there’s no way you’re going to load all that in and out of your car every event. 

I also think everyone should try to book some parties, regardless of whether you’re selling on-site or not. It’s additional revenue and new circles – that is never a bad thing!

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Next tip is to keep it simple, ladies. You don’t need crazy complicated displays that will end up overwhelming people.

My strategy was always to have a few new or seasonal products to feature. Even in a business-like Pampered Chef that’s been around for years and years, many people haven’t seen the new seasonal stuff. I can’t tell you how many times I’d be chatting up a lady who told me she had seen it all or had every Pampered Chef item around. I’d respond by saying, “oh my, do you really? Wow! You must LOVE this new product then,” pointing to the display. Nine times out of ten, she didn’t have it yet! 

For those not in the Pampered Chef world, keep it seasonal! If you’re selling candles, bring cinnamon for fall and ocean breeze for summer. For clothing businesses, bring trendy seasonal pieces to pair. Keep it new and keep it relevant!

When placing the items in the booth, you want it to be cohesive, not cluttered. I would always make some simple signs and put them in nice picture frames that added a little pop of color. Then, I’d use wood crates tipped on their side to add varying levels, propping items up top and inside the crates for display.

The options are endless and don’t have to be super complicated or expensive!

DON’T GIVE AWAY THE NEWEST CATALOGS

While this tip seems a lil’ counterintuitive – catalogs are expensive, y’all. You do not want to give your newest catalog to people wandering the aisles of a vendor fair. These people walk around to multiple vendors, and chances are it may end up in the trash. 

My recommendation is simple postcards with all the places they can find you or mini catalogs. Mini catalogs are much less expensive, and honestly, I sold just as much from the mini as the full-size ones!

If you want to give out catalogs, one idea is to give out your old stock from last season. Get rid of them while still relevant but make sure people know to contact you for the latest version after the show! I would also have a binder with the newest catalog that I tore apart neatly and placed in sheet protectors so no one could wander with it, but they’d have a chance to take a peek if they wanted to!

PERFECT YOUR PITCH

Your 30-second elevator speech on what you do can make or break your opportunity to book a party or make a sale. You don’t want to say, “Hi, my name is Mary, and I sell Pampered Chef!”. You need more than that. That does not mean anything to me as a potential customer, especially if I don’t know your business. 

Use something like, “Hi, my name is Mary, and I provide quick and easy mealtime solutions through in-home and virtual parties!”. Simple, to the point, and piques interest. 

You don’t even have to mention your company name. Focus on what you do, what you provide, what solutions you can offer. You are not your brand. Yes, you represent them, but you have your own unique flair that will help you grow your business, so friends, make that pitch your own!!

ASK A QUALIFYING QUESTION

Every person that walks by at a vendor fair is NOT your ideal client. Vendor events only last for so long, so you need to maximize your time chatting with people who could be a good potential client for you. 

How to do this? Ask all the questions! 

If you have a jewelry business and ask someone if they prefer gold and silver and their response is “well, I don’t wear jewelry,” move on. 

If you have a kitchenware company and all they can say is how much they hate eating at home, move on.

You don’t want to get wrapped up in conversation that isn’t going to be valuable. Just be kind, respectful, say it was lovely chatting, and find the next person to talk to.

On the other hand, if they respond positively, keep the conversation going. Ask more questions, dive a little deeper, and show how your products can provide a solution! 

That’s how you’re going to book parties.

GET THEIR NUMBER!

If you don’t capture contact details from the people you chat with when you’re at the vendor event, then there’s no reason for you to be there, y’all! 

The way I like to gather contact details is a small giveaway. I found success with items around $25, which seemed to be the sweet spot where people were comfortable sharing their information. 

I’d have some clipboards with papers they could fill out with name, phone, and email – nothing crazy. Then, they’d put it in a bowl, and I’d draw after the event.

If it’s a virtual party, do a Google Form! Ask the Event Coordinator if you can share the link, and you’ll gather details that way too. 

I prefer paper to write down notes about our conversation on the back for follow-up for in-person events.  

No matter how you capture their info, it’s just so important to get details for a follow-up!

FOLLOW-UP LEADS TO SUCCESS

You guys, I’ve seen this happen too many times. People attend a vendor event, and they don’t do anything with the contacts made. I’m going to keep it real with y’all and get a little sassy – if you’re not going to follow up with every person who is willing to give you their contact info, don’t do the event. You’re better off flushing your money down the toilet. No one is going to come knocking on your door after a vendor event to book a party; you must be the one knocking on doors. 

A simple phone call, or an email or text if the phone isn’t your thing, to follow-up goes a long way. 

I also gave everyone who booked a party during follow-up a “prize.” When you follow-up, mention you met them at the event, let them know that they didn’t win the grand prize, but if they book a party with you now, they’ll still get a fun prize! That simple gesture booked me a lot of parties, y’all!

GET TO RESEARCHING!

Vendor events take some legwork, but it gets you in front of so many people you had zero connection with before you walk in the door that day. 

The vendor fairs are quick wins and also a tool for long-term growth. Remember that, ladies! If you book a couple of parties that day, those couple parties are going to lead to even more business for you down the road with successful host coaching and parties. 

While this year certainly isn’t the norm, typically, I would bank on 3-4 vendor events a year depending on how much business I needed. As I grew, I did a little less but always had one on my calendar. 

So, now that you’re ready get out there and start researching vendor events and virtual vendor event opportunities near you, girl! You got this. 

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Want a proven plan for growing your business without feeling like you're chasing your tail? The Direct Sellers Business Blueprint explains the 4 key areas you must master to build a simplified, systematic direct sales business. It will even tell you which area to tackle first, so you can stop feeling overwhelmed by what to do next. It's completely FREE for a limited time.

If you loved these tips, make sure you check out our digital guide for mastering the 4 key areas of your direct sales business. Learn proven methods to book more parties, host coach like a champ, sell more products, and build a bigger team. 

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Hey, I'm Mary!

My passion is helping you simplify and streamline your direct sales business using tried and true systems that reduce overwhelm and help you reach your business goals even faster! Find out more about what we do here.

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