Many of you may also be interested in having your own tables at these trade shows and convention, so let me share a bit of wisdom with you.
In my experience, a trade show or convention is a great way to advertise yourself, company, artwork, and services. Now do not think this is a monetary pay off, because it's not.
This is a sacrifice of time and money, but I in my opinion, I think the benefits of working at these venues far out ways all of the cons!
So let me tell you what you will need in at any of these events:
- Table (with a table cloth of your company/favorite color) and chairs (not all venues will have chairs or tables)
- Guestbook (to collect emails, address, or just how many have gone to your table that night)
- Bring a laptop or portfolio, bins, table tents, office supplies such as pencils, pens, and paper (trust me, people do forget these)
- Have some type of contest, drawing, candy or any promotional item that will bring people to your table! (Advertise and Market)
- Have a handout of some sort whether it's a flyer or a business card.
- Baggies (in case you are selling products), Order forms, Carbon Receipts, Cash box (to take on commissions or orders). These are available at Office Max or Staples
- Be ready to stay at your table for the day so bring food, water, and maybe a book
Also be sure to get to know your neighbors during these events! It's important to make friends/allies. You never know if you will need to borrow anything or have to leave your table.
Now let me tell you some of the mistakes I made that all of you can avoid:
- I did not keep a budget! Really it's simple, but if this is your first show, you will be bound to forget. I was so scared that I would not have enough products, I ended up shipping over half of my back-stock home!
- Be careful when you sign up with others to share a table! Due to unseen circumstances, I ended up at the show alone trying to find out how to receive my badge that was in my partners name! Luckily for me I was able to receive all of my convention materials, but be sure to have place your name on any type of registration information. (also I did have family and neighbors that were able to help me during the show)
- I did not have a game plan. Since I did not budget, I did not know how much of a profit I would need to cover my losses. (Again you will not recover everything you put into these shows, so be warned) Each day I had to create a new strategy of pricing, specials, and contest.
- I did not set up an attractive table setting. I was newbie that did not understand the concept of how my customers see my table. Think of your table as a mini store or shop, which has "features", "accessories" and "sale" areas. (I was lucky that someone was kind enough to help me set up "shop")
And lastly, the biggest tip I can give you, is Have Fun! These shows are a great experience!
I've had wonderful time meeting new people, selling my products, placing a smiles on clients faces, learning about my competition, and most of all building a Fan Base.
What happens after the shows?
Well just be ready to crash once all of the excitement is over! Give yourself a day or two to recover, especially if you have 2-3 day showings.
Sit down and make a list of what was successful and what was unsuccessful. This is a great way to retain information and reflect.
Now that you have a bit of knowledge, go and have an incredible show!