Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

Tips for a Successful Vendor Event


I LOVE the fall…. time for hoodies, jeans, boots and LOTS of craft/vendor events.  I am a crafter at heart so when I started in direct sales, I wanted to figure out the best way to use these for my business.  I can remember telling my sponsor “I am only going to do vendor events, no home parties for me”.  Well that worked for sales in the first year since I was still working a crazy busy work schedule.  When I decided that I wanted Leadership, craft/vendor events took on a whole new meaning.

They went from being all about the sales to all about getting outside of my own circle and building leads with potential customers, hostesses and team members.  Don’t get me wrong, sales are GREAT but they are the cherry on top of the cake.

Here are some tips for making the most of your next vendor event:

1. ARRIVE EARLY.  I love being early.  I know that it only takes me about a half hour to set up but arriving early has its perks.  Honestly, some event coordinators don’t pre-assign tables which gives you a chance to scope out the best spot.  I ALWAYS take an end spot.  Being early will give you more time for unloading and booth setup, and less problems with parking.   The best thing for me about arriving early is that I get to walk the event before it starts, talk to other vendors while they are setting up and maybe even help them.  It is my social time before the event begins.

2.  STAY FOR THE WHOLE EVENT.  We have all been at shows where things are slow or there isn’t a lot of foot traffic but I  NEVER leave an event early.  It is simply bad form to be packing up and leaving, while customers may still be browsing other booths. You never know who might stop by, and the end of events is often the time that vendors network with other vendors.  Some of my best customers of the day could be other vendors.

3.  STAND WHEN POSSIBLE. First impressions are lasting impressions. This is the best way to engage with your customers, move about your booth freely, and present the best possible, positive experience.  You will be able to pull product more easily, or direct to various display pieces that might be of interest to passers by.  Remember that direct sales is about building relationships.  You can’t build relationships if you are buried behind the table reading a book until someone asks you a question.

4. NETWORK WITH OTHER VENDORS.  Vendors will often refer events to other vendor friends. Talk to vendors around you.  You might not gain customers, but at least you’ll gain relationships that may yield future event leads.  Networking with other vendors is a great thing to do when the event traffic is slow.  I always offer them a discount if they place an order – who knows where a $5 coupon could lead.

5. ENGAGE WITH CUSTOMERS.  I know that this may be a no brainer, BUT how many times have you seen a vendor sitting behind their booth, staring at their phone , and NOT engaging with their customers?  I don’t mean give them a sales pitch.  I mean a simple “hello” or “how is your day” or if they hesitate at my table, I usually ask them “what caught your eye”.  Greet each passerby and invite them to view your product and display.  Ask open ended questions to start a dialogue that will hopefully move into building a relationship. Ask a question then LISTEN!

6.  OFFER A WAY TO COLLECT CUSTOMER INFORMATION.  Remember the money is in the follow-up so the primary goal at a vendor event is hostess, customer, and team member leads.  Offer a raffle entry or a drawing where all your leads can enter and provide their contact information.  People like the chance to win.  Then, be sure to follow-up with those leads within a reasonable amount of time.


Vendor events are what you make of them.  No matter how “bad” they may seem on the surface, you want to make an impression on the event coordinator, the other vendors and your customers.  You want to be known as someone who is respectful, reliable, and relational.  Believe it or not, you will soon build a network of other vendors who will invite you to participate in future events.  You can ROCK your vendor events, just by being a good vendor!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!


Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

Booth Set Ups

Happy Monday… I came across an article on the Dos and Don’ts When Setting Up A Booth by a GREAT business coach – Deb Bixler.  I am sure by the time I am done, I have created several of these faux pas but maybe this will help you at YOUR next event…

A professional appearance is an absolute MUST.  My hubby would say that I am a “display junkie”.  I am forever trying to find the perfect display that will draw the most people to my table.  Having a table covering that features your company name is an easy place to start – I have a Thirty One tablecloth but I often think that once it is on the table, the name gets lost because customers are looking at the table TOP and not the skirt on the table.  Skirting in addition to the tablecloth might help the display’s overall appearance.  Humm???

Some DOs When Setting Up A Booth:

  • Use multiple levels – I LOVE levels.  It makes a great visual presentation.
  • Display products but not a lot!  Okay, so I may need to work on this one.  I have this same problem at a party too.  Being a visual person, how can they buy something that they can’t see.
  • Leave space for filling out drawing slips at table level.  I go back and forth with this.  I mean if I am not good at follow-up what is the sense of taking names and contact information, right?
  • Have flowers, theme props and overlays.  
  • Have a large sign with your company name that can be seen from across the room.  This is great if this is a booth instead of a table at a vendor event.  At a vendor event, the levels help to attract customers.
  • Break the barrier by standing in front of the table. A definite MUST.  It encourages people to stop by your table or booth.  I usually ask for an end space at a vendor event for this reason.
  • Hide all unneeded items, avoid clutter.  
  • Dress appropriately for the event and for our business. Wear comfortable shoes! Pockets will be helpful.
  • Look people in the eye and smile as they approach your table!

Some Set-up DON’Ts:

    • Do not try to display your entire catalog!  My biggest mistake.
    • Don’t have a chair in booth.  Most of my vendor friends have a standing joke because I NEVER sit.  I am either walking near my booth talking to other vendors, connecting to potential customers or I am standing by my table encouraging people to look at our products.
    • Don’t leave purses or other unnecessary items around.
    • Never eat or drink in the booth.  I don’t know if I agree with this one at a small vendor event but definitely when you are at a larger event with a business partner.
    • When on duty; do not sit, eat, talk, cross your arms, put your hands in pockets, lean, read the paper, take excessive notes or wander off.  I am guilty of the wandering off and talking…That is who I am so I am not sure that will ever change.

Are you re-thinking your display set-up?  I know I am as I get ready to finish off the holiday season AND get ready for the new year of events.  I see a simpler display in my future – the display hoarding will be busy during the off season to figure out some set-up options.

What are your BEST set-up suggestions?  These are two of my displays, what do you think?  Give your honest opinion.  I look forward to hearing your ideas.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

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