Trade shows can be a big part of your business and as a result it is important to know about them. One of the biggest things to know when heading to a trade show is what you hope to accomplish for your direct sales business. For some people, they are there just to get contacts and customers. Others hope for bookings and there are others who are looking for teammates. Knowing your goals in advance is helpful for determining how to approach the event.
Be aware that some companies do restrict what you are able to do. I know of a few companies that do not let the consultants sell off their table but they can take orders. If this is the case, you likely will want to aim for bookings.
If you are not able to get out for trade shows, you can find them online. They can definitely be harder to do as you do not have the captive audience that you would have in person. You also need to either type your presentation in advance or be a fast typer as you typically have limited time. That said, here is some advice if you happen to find these types of events.
So you are doing a trade show. It’s scheduled from 10 to 5 pm. So you arrive between 9 and 9:30 to get setup and get ready (okay, maybe a bit later than that depending on your setup time). Regardless, you are there on time and are prepared to stay until 5 pm. You have your phone, your laptop or sales material to keep yourself busy if things are slow.
But.. 3 o’clock rolls around and a few vendors start packing up. Or maybe that has happened earlier in the day and a few tables are already empty. Of course, you don’t know their personal circumstances. Maybe they got a phone call that someone was in a horrible accident and they had to leave. That would be an acceptable reason but I cannot think of too many other reasons that a direct sales person should be packing up to leave early.
Sometimes a person has a party on the same day of a trade show. But I tend to think that if you have a party that is scheduled for the same time as the trade show you should either pass on the trade show or have a team member come out and handle the booth when you are gone. If you are already scheduled for the event when you get a party, you can schedule the party for after the event is over or again, see if someone can come cover your booth.
You may wonder what the big deal is about leaving early – you are doing a disservice to the other vendors as well as customers that may come near the end of the event. People may walk in the door and see that half the tables are empty and walk back out. Or people may miss out on what you are offering due to the fact that you left early.
Be aware, some trade shows will charge you a deposit and if you leave early, you will not get it back. This is more common with the expensive shows but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the smaller shows not invite direct sales vendors back who leave really early.