Trade Shows – 10 Tips for the Mamapreneur

Sunday, August 14, 2011 @ 09:08 AM
posted by mrscaz
Kids expo
Having done more than a few trade shows to get Dapper Snappers kids belts into the hands of retailers, I’ve picked up a few techniques that are great tips for those Mamapreneurs getting ready to attend their first trade show.
  1. Try to see your product and displays through the eyes of the buyer. Case in point: the t-shirts on our inflate-a-toddlers we used to show Dapper Snappers kids belts in action. I had made cutesy logoed shirts for them. It detracted from the product and gave some the wrong impression. Passersby thought we were selling t-shirts!
  2. Learn how to overcome sales objections. One of our biggest battles was with buyers who would object with “What about adjustable waistband pants?” That’s a tough one, but Hubby figured it out and made toddler belt sales to those buyers easily. You may know your product inside and out, but what differentiates it from what could be considered competition? What makes yours better? Try and phrase your answers so that you aren’t discounting the competition but instead pointing out the positives of your own product. And remember; you are not just selling your product, you are selling yourself, so be confident. If you are unsure, then they will be too.
  3. Be prepared to wheel and deal. Buyers don’t just want a deal, they want to be made to feel special. They want free stuff and promises of continuing discounts. The more money they have, the more power they try to wield. But it pays to be flexible. We had a very well respected couple come buy from us. Their very presence commanded the upmost respect. I won’t call them by their first names because it just seems disrespectful. They got the deal they asked for and we landed a very big fish that even our rep at the time couldn’t land. But know what your bottom line price is. As another exhibitor put it to us, “You aren’t making Dapper Snappers for practice.” Know the cost of your product and everything it costs to get it to the customer, then decide what your “show special” will be. Free shipping is a very big seller.
  4. Network! There are endless opportunities to network. Buyers know other buyers. Exhibitors know everyone. And lots of people will come to your booth to try to sell you something. It could be an inventory tracking program or packaging or even their fabulous PR skills. Be prepared to say “no” or “please email me”. Never let them get between you and your potential customers. Most of them know better than to keep talking when they see you start to speak to a passerby. Some could keep you from your buyer because they don’t know any better or they have no scruples. Don’t let them. Oh, and you will also get to meet the press. This could be anything from industry magazines to blogs.
  5. Be prepared. Have plenty of price and line sheets, business cards, brochures, and catalogs. Bring order forms, pens, and clipboards. Make sure all your product is in pristine condition and you have plenty of samples to show. Most shows will allow a Sample Sale the last day of the show, so be prepared for people to stop by and ask to buy your samples on the spot. It’s a good idea to have a little cash on hand, and/or a mobile credit card reader like Square available.
  6. Keep your booth clean. You would be amazed at the mess that accumulates by the end of the day! Bring a little floor vacuum. Have a hidden garbage can. Don’t eat in your booth if you can help it (crumbs get everywhere and certain foods don’t have a very pleasant aroma). Make sure you have a way to keep yourself organized. Organizers for business cards, folders for orders, sticky notes, etc.
  7. Bring candy; preferably chocolate (Godiva, Toblerone, Lindt are all great ones to offer). Put it in your booth so that people see it but it’s not easy to access without coming into the booth. People will walk by and grab handfulls without even stopping if it’s in easy reach. Candy is always a great way to draw people in.
  8. Have an attention getter. We use a large prize wheel. Boy does that get peoples attention! You don’t have to go through the expense of getting a prize wheel though. You could do something as simple as a string of flashing lights, or have a video (no sound that will irritate your neighbors) playing in the background. People stop when they’re attention is grabbed by lights, movement, and sound. Use it to your advantage. Make them curious.
  9. Have an extra chair available for people to sit down. Trade shows are typically very long and exhausting. Just sitting for a moment and eating a bite of chocolate will put a smile on their faces and they will be more willing to listen to your pitch.
  10. Design your booth so that it’s open and inviting. People like to browse. The more stuff you have, the more crowded your booth becomes and then it just isn’t as inviting as it could be. Keep it simple. They’ve already been inundated by a bazillion products crowded in tiny little booths. Give them something refreshing to look at.

These are only 10 of many tips to make your trade show exhibition a success. Do you have any you’d like to share? Please leave a comment!

PS. Check out this video Hubby did at a trade show for a laugh!


Common Cents Mama - Queen of Kids Belts

One Response to “Trade Shows – 10 Tips for the Mamapreneur”

  1. Kelly says:

    Thanks for the great tips! Enjoyed meeting you guys at the Vegas – ABC Show. Hope to see you again in Louisville :). Not in my own booth this time,but with a distributor in #909. Cheers, Kelly from Sniffle Buddies (