Tag Archives: Trade fair

Getting a Table at a Trade Show

Have you ever received an invitation to a trade show months in advance and weren’t sure when to pay? It can be a tricky situation but there are a few tips I can offer you to navigate this situation and make sure that you get the spot.

IBM @ CeBIT 2010, Hanover, Germany

IBM @ CeBIT 2010, Hanover, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Early Deadline

See if there is an early deadline for a table.   It could be that they are offering the tables to those who had the table first. Quite often, if someone organizes a second trade show, they will contact those vendors that attended the prior event first. If this is the case, they will likely give you a deadline to get your funds in or the table will be up for grabs.

First One Who Sends Money

Many times you will see that an event has something indicating that the first person to pay gets the table.   Start by inquiring to find out if your company is already represented. If not, ask if you can reserve the table and advise them that you will be sending payment and how you will be sending it.   Make sure to follow through and actually do it! If you cannot for whatever reason, talk to the organizer and see what arrangements can be made.   Depending on when the event actually is will determine the flexibility of the organizer. Tables that cannot be paid for within a reasonable time frame or do not have the payment show up will be up for grabs.   For me, I give them two weeks.

Deadline

Again, there is typically a deadline for getting your funds in. This is for a variety of reasons but one is so that they know your company is represented. Some events can be difficult to get into or they need numbers by a certain date to make sure that they have appropriate resources to accommodate everyone.

Why Mixing Up Personality Types at Trade Shows Can Help Sales

At trade shows, your team members are the embodiment of your company. Although your sales representatives are there to inform attendees about a product or service, the manner in which they do so will speak volumes about your company’s ethos, or guiding principles. Be sure to send your best people to staff your Trade Show Exhibits. Their knowledge of the business and their interactions with potential clients will do more to attract and repel sales than any infographic or promotional item ever could.

English: 2007 AutoTronics Taipei: Car Electron...

English: 2007 AutoTronics Taipei: Car Electronics Area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to a 2013 Nielsen study, approximately half of all people surveyed said that they would be willing to spend more money on a product if they believed the company would use the extra money to improve society in some way. This study says a lot about the relationship between ethics and consumerism – people like to believe that they’re spending their money at ethical companies who are making the world a better place. It’s why McDonalds funds the Ronald McDonald house while being accused of not paying employees a living wage, and why Nike started the Nike Foundation after many years of sweat shops allegations. In both of these cases, companies are taking control of their ethos in the public eye. Fortunately, you don’t need to start a charity in order to capitalize on this mindset.

At trade shows, it is important to promote the idea that your company has both the best product and the best people. In order to do so, your representatives should be knowledgeable, personable, and diverse. Everyone is unique, and we all respond to situations and people differently. What some people may consider an enthusiastic and informative discussion with a vendor, others may perceive as a pushy sales pitch. Additionally, some individuals are more receptive to being approached by sales representatives than others. According to a recent study released by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, more than 50% of men are comfortable talking with vendors they do and do not know, compared to 40% of women.

Sending a diverse range of personalities to represent your company at trade shows appeals your business to a larger audience, which will in turn increase sales. A booth manned by people who look and act the same subconsciously signals to the customer that product or service is only for people of a certain appearance and disposition. Avoid isolating customers and send the message that your business is for everyone. In order to appeal to the largest possible audience, your sales representatives should be as diverse and unique as your market.

Trade shows are great opportunities to increase brand awareness, interact with potential clients, and make direct sales. Make the most out of your trade show experience by diversifying your representatives’ personalities and appealing yourself to the largest possible audience.

Trade Show Tips as a Guest

Trade shows can be a lot of fun.  You get to see a lot of companies and products that you may not have heard of before.  You may be able to find product that was discontinued but that the rep still had in their stock or you may get to try new products that you haven’t experienced before.  Regardless, there are a few tips to help you get the most of your trade show experience.

2008 Display Taiwan.

2008 Display Taiwan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Labels – If you have access to a printer, pre-make labels with your name, phone number and email address to use to enter draws.  It saves you time as you do not have to write it all out and it assists the vendor as the information is actually legible.  You would hate to miss out on a prize because they couldn’t read your writing, right?

Cash – I am always surprised how many people come to trade shows without any cash.  Maybe this is because they want to guarantee they do not purchase anything?   Vendors may not be willing to accept cheques or credit cards at events for a variety of reasons – they may not be able to process them, they do not know you and worry about them bouncing or because you already have the product and there is no recourse if payment does not clear.

Shopping Bag – Bring a bag with you to the event.  You may end up with catalogues or other various materials that you take home not to mention you may end up making a purchase.  Many vendors do not seem to carry bags with them and you can use a re-usable canvas bag instead of a plastic bag.

Patience – Trade shows are not typically events to go to if you only have five minutes.  All you can do in that amount of time is come in and see who is there.  If you want to check out any of the booths, you will need time to stop there, talk to the vendor and possibly sniff, sample, try on or examine the product.  If you book a party, you will need to pick a date if possible at the event.

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Getting Ready for 2014

As you are wrapping up things for 2013, you can start getting items ready for the 2014 year.  Some tasks can be done in 15 minutes where some are a bit more time intensive.

Oh so much to do, to do today, tomorrow, the n...

Oh so much to do, to do today, tomorrow, the next day (Photo credit: Chapendra)

Accounting

While you are sorting out all your paper work for 2013, start your folders and fields for 2014.  This is a great time to do them as you know what did and did not work for you and you can make modifications or changes at this time.  If you wait until March, you may have forgotten what you wanted to change and spend another year not being as productive as you could be.

Reorganize Your Space

Chances are during the year, you haven’t had the time to keep your space neat and tidy.  Take this time to do that.  Find those shelving units you bought but never put together, the pen organizer that is still in the bag and put all the paper away.  Put the expired books in a cabinet to be used for trade shows or other events.

Restock Your Packages

If you have gone through a lot of hostess and recruit packages, start making new ones.  Depending on the timing of your company, you may not be able to put in catalogues but you can get everything else ready.

Prepare Mail-outs

If you do a mail out in the New Year with new catalogues, you can also get these ready while you wait.  Find envelopes and get the addresses onto them.  Print out any paperwork that you put into the envelope and put it in them.  Throw some business cards into the envelope or anything else that needs to go in that you have already.

Read Company Information

If you have gotten behind on some of the information relating to your company, take this time to get caught up.  I know I don’t always read the company emails that come out (the general information ones) so now is a good time to do it.  You never know what questions may get answered when you do this.

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Should You Sell at a Trade Show?

Let us assume that your company allows you to sell product at a trade show.  Should you actually do this or should you focus on showing what your company has to offer and get bookings and recruits instead?

Berry Vendor

Berry Vendor (Photo credit: La Grande Farmers’ Market)

I think the first thing you have to ask yourself is what you are trying to do with your business.    Are you comfortable and happy with the amount of bookings you have and just want to get rid of excess inventory?  Do you want to increase your monthly sales?  Do you want to grow your team bigger?   All of the answers to these can help to decide what to do.

Selling Inventory

Obviously if you are happy with your sales levels and just want to get rid of excess inventory, then you should sell product.  You can always take orders and work on getting bookings while you are there.  You can put up signs and notices about benefits of hosting a party and why you should join the company.

Increase Bookings

If you want to increase bookings, then you should set up your table in that method.  Bring product to show so people can see what you offer but focus on the benefits of hosting.  You could set up an area of the table that shows people what they would get in actual product when they have a party.  You can tell someone they get $40 which doesn’t mean much but if you show them what $40 gets them, it has more impact.  Put up a sign saying “Get all this for $10 by hosting a party!” and then include the breakdown of hostess credit and half off items.

Find Recruits

Just like trying to get bookings, you need to show people the benefits of becoming a consultant with your company.  Set up an area to show people what they get with their kit.  If they can earn it free, let them know what it takes and how to accomplish it.  Explain to them what they can earn.  You may want to put signs that say “Want a new car?  You can earn a car payment with just X amount of parties a week” or something similar.  It needs to catch their attention and draw them in.  Be prepared to answer questions about your own experiences.

I find that you concentrate and present yourself differently when you are simply selling product versus trying to get bookings and find recruits.  This is why it is important to know what you are trying to accomplish at a trade show.

 

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Pack in Advance for Events

I don’t know about you, but when I have an event or a party, I always tend to forget something.  While many things stay in my bag between events, some come out as I need those items in other parts of my life.    That said, I have made a list to try and prevent this from happening in the future.  Packing for an event a day or two early helps with this as you will run into things and realize that you should take it with you.   I am a huge fan of lists, so I created one to remind me what I need to take and wanted to share it.

Suitcase

Suitcase (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To Pack:

  • Pens/Pencils
  • Order Forms
  • Catalogues
  • Pens
  • Business Cards
  • Stapler or Paperclips
  • Specials
  • Products (Do you have everything you want to show packed?)
  • Samples
  • Money bag/change
  • Hostess Packages
  • Recruit Packages
  • Props for any games such as a hostess game – dice, envelopes, music, whatever you require

If you are doing trade shows or vendor events, you will pretty much need everything above.  Depending on if you are able to sell off your table or not will determine what you bring for products.

Product to sell – If allowed, check with company if you are not sure.

Cannot sell – Bring samples and product to show to people and entice for bookings.

Product to sell, if your company allows you to.  If you aren’t sure, check with your upline or company

  • Expired catalogues to hand out
  • Notebook to write down any questions you need to research and phone numbers/email to let customer know
  • Sign up list for email newsletter if you have one
  • Table cloth
  • Table decorations

Regardless of the event, consider putting your hostess and recruit packages into fun bags to tempt people to want them.

Consider putting specials, order forms, a catalogue and a pen into a folder for each guest.

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Using Your Calendar

When you are in business yourself, its important that you keep track of any commitments that you have.  This means keeping track of when you have parties, when you have events or anything else that is relevant to your business.  If you miss something, it can make you look like you do not care about your business or that the event is not that important to you.

Monket Calendar

Monket Calendar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While I will admit I am not perfect, and we all make mistakes, it is best to try and minimize these.

Some examples:

Years ago, a lady called me a day or two before her party.  She had scheduled months prior with a different consultant but she had never heard from her.  She had about a dozen people coming to her party but no consultant.  She wondered if I could do the party for her.  I was able to cover her event and it was over $1000.  My best party ever!  Sure, I didn’t have a chance to do hostess coaching but this lady was a great hostess on her own.

I screwed up last year and got my date confused for a trade show.  That Saturday morning, my phone rang but I ignored it.  I didn’t check the voicemail for a few hours and it turned out that I was missing the trade show.  I hadn’t marked it down in my calendar and I had a different date in mind for it.  I quickly packed up and was going to head out to it, but I ended up not going as I realized by the time I drove to the event and got setup, there would be maybe an hour left.  Yes, it probably did not look that great for me, but my experience shows that most people come through in the morning.

Are these two examples enough to tell you why you need to make sure you keep track of your events and your calendar?

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Choosing The Right Exhibition Stand

English: Corner exhibition stand at the Götebo...

English: Corner exhibition stand at the Göteborg Book Fair 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you are attending a trade show you will need to make your booth stand out and one of the ways to do this is through exhibition stands. These are normally lightweight so they can be transported easily and are used to promote your product and services. There are several different kinds of stands available today and each of them has its own merits. The one you choose will depend upon your own specific needs. To help you decide, here are some of the stands on offer:

  • Twist Display Stand: These are a kind of pull-up banner which can be displayed on portable stands and printed with high quality graphics for maximum impact. They are perfect for trade shows and exhibitions because they create seamless back walls for a really professional look. Because they allow you to join many different units together in a seamless display, they are great if you have a lot of space to fill. They are also versatile because their tensioning system allows the alignment to be adjusted so they can sit against both smooth and uneven surfaces. They are also light and easy to transport from place to place.
  • Pop-Up Stands: These continue to be highly popular for companies attending exhibitions. This is mainly because they are easy to transport and erect, but once taken down don’t take up too much room in storage. There are different varieties of these – they can, for example, be made from cardboard and fabric – but all are an impressive back-drop to any trade show booth if printed with good quality graphics and a strong design. For extra versatility, some can have Velcro-friendly front panels so that posters can be changed.
  • Poster Display Stands: These are freestanding display stands which can usually come in cable, rod or modular versions. The great thing about these is that they can come with single or mixed pocket arrangements so you can interchange posters depending on the exhibition you are attending. They can also come in a wide variety of sizes depending on your needs and can be placed side-by-side or perpendicular to each other. If you want something versatile and low-cost, these are a safe bet.
  • Folding Display Stands: Folding display stands and exhibition boards are great for companies operating on a strict budget. They are low-cost, lightweight and because they are folded they don’t take up much space in transit. Generally made from PVC, they are durable and both pin- and Velcro-friendly so that posters can be interchanged as often as required.
  • POS Stands: Point-of-sale or info stands are more specialised items which are used for both retail environments or exhibitions. They will normally consist of a poster board on top and some smaller leaflet displays below. If you have a particular new product you want to promote then they are ideal because you can draw visitors’ attention with a high-impact poster and then they can take away more detailed information in the leaflets placed below. However, if your booth is simply to provide a more generalised overview of your company then you would be better off with one of the larger stands mentioned above.

When you’ve worked out which kind of exhibition stand best fits your needs, the next thing to do is find a supplier. It’s worth shopping around to see which companies offer the best deals – always remembering that you have to pay for quality. It’s important, for example, that you check how the graphics will be added to your stand to ensure that the solutions used will not only look good but will also be durable so you can use the stands over and over again.

It’s a good idea to get a recommendation for a stand supplier from somebody who has used them many times and understands what is important. When you’ve found a few companies you think might be able to offer what you want then go and visit each one in turn to discuss your requirements. This is a good opportunity to ask to see examples of their work so you can get an idea of what they might be able to do for you. It’s probably best, if you can, to find a local supplier so you can visit them face-to-face and contact them easily if there is a problem with any of the products they have supplied to you.

Author Profile

Chris Jenkinson is a UK marketing consultant writing for RAL Display a display stands and exhibition stands company

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Being invited to a Competing Direct Sales Event

There are times in your direct sales career that you may be invited to a party your friend is hosting with the competition.  Depending on their product line, they may have items that your company does not carry and you want to purchase, but they may not.  If you have absolutely no interest in attending, there are several things you can do.

Decline the Invitation – The easiest thing you can do is decline to attend the event.  No harm, no foul and life goes on.

Attend but Not Purchase – Another option is to attend the party but not purchase anything.  Be aware that this may annoy your friend and the consultant, but maybe not.  We all know that not everyone who comes out will purchase, you are just that person that time.

Make a Deal – I saw this interesting idea recently on Facebook.  Tell your friend you will attend and purchase (chances are they sell something that you don’t) but in return, you expect your friend to host a party with you and spend the equivalent that you spend at their party.  This may get them off your case about attending, or you may end up with a party!

Of course, the question comes up of “Does your friend know that you sell for another similar company and that she should be hosting with you instead?”  If she is not aware of your status with direct sales, it is no wonder she didn’t book with you.

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Tax Write-offs – Miscellaneous

Not only can we write off advertising and our vehicle in direct sales, there are a multitude of other items that can be written off.  Of course, the rules vary by where you live and the local rules, so make sure you are checking the relevant websites or your tax accountant to find out what you can write off.

Supplies – Chances are you already know that you can write off any supplies you purchase for your business.  This means catalogues, order forms and even product that you purchase for demonstration purposes.  If you do end up selling the demo products though, you have to report this as revenue.

Meals – If you meet a potential recruit for coffee or a meal, you can write this off.  Make sure you get a receipt and mark on it what the occasion was so you do not forget later.  In Canada, you cannot write off 100% of this expense, but every little bit helps.  If you are at a vendor event and purchase a meal, you may not be able to write this off, but again, it is best to ask.  Typically you can only write off a meal if you are away from your home area for a certain amount of time.

Samples – If you have purchased samples that you give away to customers, these are a write off.  These are items that you can typically only purchase through a supply order and that you cannot sell for cash.  You may put them in customer bags, give them away as prizes at events, or hand them out at trade shows.

Home Expenses – This is a category that can be complicated and difficult to determine if it is a valid expense and write off.  Typically, to get to write off a portion of your home, it has to be allocated specially to business use only.  For many people, this can be difficult as they do not have a lot of room that is not already in use somehow.  Your bills, such as your phone and Internet, are also tricky as you have to be able to prove what portion is used for your business.  For instance, you would need to prove that you use your Internet 25% of the time for business.  If you have a dedicated phone line, that is easy to prove, but it may be difficult to write off your regular home phone line.

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