When I joined Thirty One almost 7 years ago, I told my sponsor “I don’t do home parties BUT I will do vendor events”. For the first year, I built my business on vendor events. I did as many as I could and when I wasn’t a vendor, I attended them and networked with other vendors.
Over the years, vendor events have changed and many direct sellers would say they don’t get a return on their investment (ROI). Have the events changed or has our perception of what these events can do for our business changed? Do we rely on them for sales not looking at the other opportunities available to us?
Yes, I originally built my business as a result of events BUT I didn’t just attend an event. I worked the event. I didn’t sit behind the table, scrolling through my phone. I was usually found standing next to my table (I always want an end spot) or milling around talking to other vendors. Vendor events are a great way to expand your network, or getting to know people if moving to a new area.
I have written about Vendor events before and each time from a different perspective. I had two events last weekend – one a flop and one was really good for me. Notice how I clarified “for me”? There wasn’t a lot of foot traffic, many of the vendors (there were 56 of us in one room) did not have sales and were discouraged. They talked about how bad things were. They brought negative “mojo” into their Universe. I know it sounds crazy, right? I honestly walked into both events not very optimistic. I formed an opinion about them based on what I saw. At the first one, those negative thoughts and comments consumed the day. At the second one, I was determined to have a better day. It was the end of the month and I needed to hit my sales for the month.
Here are a few things you need to know BEFORE you can have a successful vendor event:
#1 – Set a Goal. In talking with a first time vendor, I shared my view on vendor events. Yes, we all want sales but it is more about planting seeds and making a connection. I set my goal for the second event – ultimately I wanted sales but a few solid contacts for orders or for parties would be great. Yes, I squirreled. Set a goal and focus on it. When you are trying to the whole book/sell/recruit it is overwhelming. My focus is to always share Thirty One and our amazing products. Then I let the conversation go from there.
#2 – Be selective. By this I mean, don’t travel to an event if you aren’t willing to travel to do parties in the area. If you are trying to expand your area, and you book parties, will you be able to travel the same distance to do the parties? If you travel an hour to do a vendor event, booking a home party or two usually means booking more at the party, right? It means a lot of traveling. Will travel fit into your every day life? If I am traveling to an area, I will reach out to existing customers in the area to let them know I will be there. Sometimes offering an incentive for them to collect orders and bring them to me ( a party on the go). This is when using social media becomes an important component of your business.
#3 – Have fun at your table. Some will have games you can play. Others will decorate their display. Some will have a drawing for a prize. The truth is, mine is probably rather boring for some. Thirty One has 3 catalog sections – for you, your home and your family. I try to set my display up based on those sections. Why? It allows customers to focus on what is important to them. No games to lure them in, just the amazing products displayed in an attractive manner.
#4 – YOU NEED TO BE FUN! Don’t hide behind the table, sitting in a chair and wait for someone to talk to you. I talk to everyone who even glances at my table. It can be as simple as “hi, how are you today?”. This simple gesture may actually engage someone in conversation. I share my excitement and love of Thirty One with everyone and anyone.
I gained 6 new customers who placed orders at the second event. When other vendors wanted to talk negatively, I tried to change it to a positive perspective. I was determined to be successful and I was. Does this always happen, no. Each event is different. What is bad for one could be good for another. Be open minded. Have questions about vendor events – let’s hear them.
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!