Vendor Event Success Tips for Direct Sales & Home Party Plan Consultants

If you are a direct sales or home party plan business owner, a great way to get new contacts and leads for your business is by doing vendor events.  There are several kinds of vendor events you can set up a display booth at right in your local area. A few examples include: community street festivals, county fairs, school and church bazaars, charitable events and direct sales networking group events.

Why participate in a vendor event for your direct sales business?

I personally prefer to spend money on a booth at an event as my main form of advertising.  This type of event gives you the chance to talk to people, give out your card and let people in your target area and target market know that you are their local connection for your business.  You are also able to get contact info from interested prospects that you can follow up with later.  If you advertise in a paper or online, you have to wait and hope that people will see your ad and then contact you.  A vendor event if done correctly and attended well can have a very high return on investment for your business.

Where do you find vendor events?

The best way to find out about these events is to ask your friends, family and customers if they know of events.  You can also check out your local newspapers community calender of events and the events on sites like Craigslist, Eventlister.com and Craftlister.com  You may also want to call your local Chamber of Commerce or Tourism Authority.   For schools and churches, sometimes you just have to call and ask if they have events coming up.

What things should you consider before agreeing to participate?

When you are calling to check on the events there are a few things you need to keep in mind before signing up. First you want to make sure that there are no other consultants from your company already signed up and that they do not allow more than 1 consultant per company. Pretty much all direct sales companies do not allow more than 1 rep per company at an event.  Also find out how many years the event has been established and how many people attend on average. Other things to consider are whether it is indoors or outdoors, whether you need to provide your own tables and a tent if outdoors and if and  how they advertise the event to the public.

Cost is a big factor to consider before deciding to pay for a space at a vendor event.  For an event that tens of thousands of people come through, it may be worth it to pay $250-$500 for a booth if you can split the cost and hours with several other team members to make it affordable.  If an event is not that big, newer or has not had a high attendance in the past, I would not recommend spending more than $50 for the booth.  It is always good to split the booth with a team member if you can. Not only does that reduce your cost, but it gives you someone there to help or watch the booth if you need to leave.

How to prepare for a vendor event:

Once you have found an event or two to participate in, it’s time to get yourself, your products and your display ready. If you need to provide your own tent or table, you may want to see if you can borrow these for your first few events until you make some extra money to buy your own.

You will want to purchase some tablecloths, preferably at least one with your company’s logo.  I recommend using dark tablecloths, products and signage really stands out and pops more against a dark tablecloth.   You can also get a large banner or sign printed with your company’s logo (and your name & contact info) like the ones you can see when you visit Roller Banners Cheap.  You can put the banner on  your table, on your tent or on the wall behind your booth.  This helps draw attention to your booth.

As for products, I recommend bringing your business kit that new recruits get for signing up as part of your display.  Then bring host specials and customer specials for the rest of your demo. You are going to want to be focusing on recruiting and dating parties so having those items and signage that goes along with it will help.  Be sure to have catalogs, sales fliers, business cards and party and recruiting packets too!

booth2

Create or print some signs that say things like “We’re Hiring” and “Ask Me About Our Host Bonuses”.  Signs like that help start a conversation.  If your company allows you to sell your products cash and carry then be sure to bring a good selection of products to sell and set up a clean display.  I like to use small metal shelves on my table to organize my display and my cash and carry products. It helps my booth stand out from the others and allows me to showcase many more products than just stacking a few on the table.

Be sure to dress for success or match the type of event you are attending. Wear a shirt with your logo and casual dress pants or a logo or polo shirt and very nice jeans. Depending on the event and the location of the event, I typically wear nice jeans with a logo shirt. Most of the events and the areas my business is in are outdoors or more casual so I would look out of place and not as approachable if I were wearing business attire.   If your event is in a higher class area or business/location you may want to dress up more.  Whatever you choose to wear, make sure it is ironed and looks nice so you represent your company (and yourself) well.

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How to get leads and new contacts for your business:

The most important reason to do vendor events is to get those new contacts and leads for your business – contacts that you can follow up with. The easiest way to do this is to a drawing for a prize!  It can be products you have in stock or a gift certificate.  The amount is up to you and should be based on the size of the event. For a smaller event, I may do just a $15 gift certificate. For a very large event, I may do a gift basket with $100 worth of products in it.

I put out a few clipboards with a drawing slip and a sign about the drawing.  I tell everyone “there is no obligation, they don’t have to be present to win and I won’t call and harass them unless they just want me to.”  That usually makes them smile or laugh and lightens the mood.  The drawing slip asks for their name, address, phone #, email and then has a few check boxes asking their interest in learning more about earning free products by hosting a party, earning an income by beginning their own business and learning more about our fundraiser program.  I do ask them to fill it out completely.  While they are filling it out I will have a quick conversation with them. If they check off yes on any of the boxes I will go ahead and follow up right then and see if I can share more information or find out more about what specifically they are interested in.

Not everyone will want to fill out a drawing slip. Not everyone who fills it out is really interested in your product or company, some just want a chance to win a prize. The rule of 100 no’s to get 10 yeses applies to vendor events too.

Remember to smile and be friendly to everyone! Say hello, ask them how they are, compliment them, invite them into the booth.  Use open ended questions to start a conversation.  How long has it been since you’ve seen our products?  How long has it been since you’ve been to one of our parties? What problems are you having that we can help you solve with our products?  Be genuinely interested in helping people. You do not need to be pushy or sales person like to be successful in direct sales.

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The #1 Rule to make your vendor events successful

You may give out 200 business cards and get 100 drawing slips filled out. You may even get a booking or two on the spot.  All of that is great and an essential part of building your business, but you need do to one more thing to make sure your vendor event is successful.  You must follow up. Let me repeat, you must follow up!  “The fortune is in the follow up” they say and I promise you that is the truth!  You need to call your leads within 24-48 hours to follow up, especially potential hosts and recruits.  People lose 10% of the excitement each day so if you wait a week to follow up they are already going to be 70% less excited than when you spoke to them.  Be sure to add people to your email list if they included their email and marked that they wanted to be added to your newsletter list.  I always email everyone who didn’t check off any particular boxes and thank them for stopping by my booth and offer a coupon or shipping discount on their first purchase made within 30 days too.

Vendor events can be a great way to build your direct sales business.   When I started my business I did not know that many people and did not have a lot of local family and friends. They are the main way that I have grown my customer base over the past seven years.  I love doing the events, I love meeting and talking to new people and making new connections. I especially love letting people know that my direct sales company (Tupperware) is still out there and that I am their local connection and happy to help them!

What about you? Do you have any other tips for successful vendor events? I would love it if you would leave a comment below and share this post with your friends!

 

Comments

  1. says

    Hi there! I just came across you blog about good keys to being. successful with your direct sales business. Thanks for sharing

  2. Lilly L. Pollard says

    One of the most effective ways to market your direct sales business is through local vendor events, craft fairs, bazaars and flea markets. With a little creativity and know how, these events can be a fun and exciting way to meet new customers, book additional parties and sponsor new team members. Read on to learn more.

  3. says

    I’m an introvert. Not the best set up for a successful direct sales business, I know. But I’m not shy. So I appreciate these tips because I’m going to push myself out of my comfort zone and look for some vendor events. Here’s hoping! Pray for a sister! ;) Richest blessings!

    • says

      I am an introvert too but I do really well at vendor events and really almost prefer them to home parties. I think it’s because the people coming by your booth or stopping in are interested to see what you have and the conversations are short and sweet as you work to connect and help them. They really helped me explode my business and continue to do so! Wishing you much success, you can do it!
      Misty Kearns recently posted..Exciting Announcement! CEO of Me is changing!My Profile

  4. says

    I love attending vendor events as a customer so I am looking forward to attending as a vendor. My only concerns is I don’t know how much inventory to bring and if I can afford to bring how much is necessary! Is it unreasonable to take orders at an event? How much inventory should I have?
    Del Kroemer recently posted..Meet Mialisia!My Profile

    • says

      Hi Del! It really depends on a few things – first if you are with a direct sales company- does your company allow you to sell cash & carry? Some companies do not allow that, so be sure to check your companies guidelines. There are some events that I have done where people will order and I can get a large amount of orders. There are some events where people just will not order at all, they prefer to be able to purchase cash & carry. I am not sure if it is the venue, they don’t know me, they don’t feel comfortable giving a stranger $ and having to wait 2 weeks for their orders or what. I have noticed that the smaller events like at schools or churches or networking events people seem more comfortable ordering. The larger events, street festivals, events that are for 2-5 days, people seem to prefer to purchase cash & carry instead of ordering. I never recommend investing a lot of money in products until you have tested the waters a bit or are making a larger income in your business and know that you can easily sell the items and make a profit. The main reason to do vendor events is for advertising your business, to get your name out there, to do a drawing to get contact info for potential customers, hosts and recruits. I would encourage you to not get so caught up in selling cash and carry that you lose focus on gaining new leads for your business. I typically offer a “Show Special” for orders like flat $5 shipping for all orders or free shipping over a certain amount to help encourage first time orders. Hope that helps & good luck with building your business!
      Misty Kearns recently posted..Seven Ideas to Build Your Direct Sales or Party Plan Business outside of the Home PartyMy Profile

  5. says

    I just want to thank you for this great article! I just started working in direct sales and have some events coming up and I really don’t have a clue what I am doing! This article gave me so many great ideas, I would like to print it off and put it in my binder as reminders :) I look forward to checking out your other articles and to learn more from you! Thank you for taking the time to teach others what you have learned :)

  6. says

    In that I do a booth most Saturdays at a local outdoor marketplace, your info is extremely useful to me. I’ve been inventing myself so it’s wonderful to have a bit of guidance and some awesome ideas! Thank you!

  7. lena says

    do you have a better pic of what you put at your table? the signs? I have my first vendor event sunday and don’t know what to do. I don’t have cash and carry stuff yet cause I just started a month ago. any help would be great! :)

    • says

      Hi Lena, I don’t unfortunately. This was a cell phone pic from a couple years ago. I need to take some pics at my upcoming events and update this post. It is totally ok if you don’t have cash n carry. Set up your kit and make the display look really nice with bright colors and a nice tablecloth and have various signs out with your current host specials, recruiting specials and any order specials too. The most important part is to connect with the people who come through. Smile, be friendly, genuine and make those connections. Be sure to get them to fill out a drawing slip so you can get leads to follow up with. Give out business cards and don’t forget to network with the other vendors there too. Often times I get as much business from the other vendors as I do from others. Wishing you tons of success!
      Misty Kearns recently posted..What gardening can teach us about building a successful direct sales businessMy Profile

      • says

        Thanks so much for these great tips Misti! I’m doing my first launch party for Origami Owl in October so I’m looking everywhere for pointers because I’m very shy! I just want to succeed and come out of my shell. :)

        • says

          Hi Susan!

          How was your launch party? How have you been doing with Origami Owl? I started less than a month ago and I’m reading everything I can find about direct sales and vendor events. Do you have any tips or suggestions for a newbie? Thank you!

          -Leigha

  8. John Ritchie says

    Hi, I Just want to know how to do direct sales for an event business and is it good to use direct sales as a way of promoting/marketing an event business?

    P.S. I need precise and genuine info

    Kind Regards

    John

  9. says

    I’ve found the best website for finding vendor events in your area. You can search by zip code and put in how far you’re willing to travel, what type of vendors ate there, and the contact info for the person signing up vendors. There is a yearly fee but well worth the price if you’re interested in these types of events. Check it out at http://www.festivalnet.com. Good luck! Thank you Misty for all your great information..

  10. says

    Thank you Misty!This was a very informative blog post! I favorited it and I will share it with my team! I really appreciate the work you put into this and your expertise on this subject. I have been an Independent Presenter for Younique Product for a little over 2 months now and I have done a few shows with my sponsor. I found them to be really fun and a great source of new team members! I am ready to do some events with my downline now and found you while searching for events. Thanks again!

  11. Ashley says

    Thank you for this post! I’m doing my first couple of vendor events next month and I’m trying to get prepared. This was very helpful!

  12. Kimberly says

    I have been thinking about doing direct sales, and I am so nervous! this article gave me so much information, and I really think I’ll give it a shot. Thank you.

  13. Adriane says

    Hello! I just want to thank you for posting this blog! I am doing my first vendor event this weekend! The funny thing is its Tupperware also!!!! I just started to sell it two weeks ago! I am really excited to be on this adventure!
    Thank you!
    Adriane

  14. says

    Wow, Wonderful article on vendor events!!!!! Thanks for posting! I shared it with my networking group because I think the tips will be useful for almost every business that wants to do vendor fairs!

  15. says

    Great advice. I knew follow up was important but hadn’t considered how quickly I should respond. I never thought of it in terms of losing “excitement.” thanks.

  16. says

    Thank you so much for your terrific blog. I just started with Younique and I am attending my first vendor show in a couple of weeks. I feel much more confident after reading your great tips!!!!

  17. Natalie says

    Hi! Great blog! I’m new to this industry and was curious, when you team up with others for an event, how do you split up the prospects with the other representatives from your company? Is there ever an issue or confusion as to how potential customers would be split up? Thank you!

    • says

      Hi Natalie! Thank you & that is a great question. With my team what we do is try to alternate speaking to people or maybe have 1 person up front for an hour & the other working the check out table then switch. If you start talking to someone who wants to do a party or maybe needs a local consultant we’ll ask where they live and if they live closer to someone else working the event, we’ll introduce them and let them help them. (Doesn’t make sense for me to drive 40 minutes if I have a team member who lives 5 minutes from the customer.) If you speak to someone and have a real conversation / connection with them (or if you already know them) then they are your lead. What we will do is put our initials on the back of those lead slips so after we do the door prize drawing we can make sure each person gets their personal leads back. For the other leads that we either don’t talk to in depth or those that just fill out the form and hand it in, we don’t put initials on those and we will just split those up evenly after the event. We do try to give leads based on area too so if a lead lives closer to me I would get it, closer to one of the other team members there, they would get it. (That is for the ones where we didn’t have a conversation / connection with / book a party with…) Just lay the ground rules out up front and make sure everyone understands and is on board. Also some of my team members do not want to recruit or build a team so when they work events they will refer recruit leads to me or the other person there that is a team leader or working to promote. Hope that helps!
      Misty Kearns recently posted..How to read at least 1 book every weekMy Profile