- Be prepared - Before you leave for a show, consider all the things you’ll need to set up your booth, sell and wrap you items. In addition to the routine sale supplies like credit card slips, business cards, and a calculator, remember a small set of tools, first aid supplies, duct tape and spare hardware for any displays that may use special hardware. Being prepared allows you to be adaptable when something unexpected comes up. Don’t forget some healthy snacks to avoid filling up on unhealthy foods just because you’re tied to a small area near your booth.
- Arrive at the site early - Allow plenty of time to check in, find your booth, cart your display and items to the booth and get everything set up before customers start to arrive. Setting up while customers are trying to shop is bad for your business, appears unprofessional and is distracting for your booth neighbors and their customers.
- Be a good booth neighbor - Stay within your allotted space. Don’t obstruct walkways or your neighbor space by spilling into those areas. Just as you paid for the space you are occupying, so did your neighbors. Visit with the other vendors during slow period. If your neighbor is alone, offer to watch their both while they use the rest room and they’ll return the favor. If you are going to get a bottle of water for yourself, offer to pick something up for them too. When visiting with other vendors, be aware of customers entering their booth and break the conversation to allow the vendor to greet their customers. Remember that booths are small and the walls are just canvas. Your neighbor can hear everything you say.
- Be a part of the community - Many shows, especially those in smaller communities, have local service organizations (LSOs) providing services as a fundraiser for the organization. Most commonly, LSOs will sell food or beverages. While it is tempting to bring all your own food to a show, patronizing and visiting with service organization workers is a good way to gain exposure at the show and build goodwill. Buying food and beverages from LSOs at shows is a win/win for me. I need to eat and the community benefits from my purchase.
- Stay til the end - We all occasionally are in shows that are slow or not what we’d anticipated. Don’t be tempted to pack up and leave early. The disruption of packing up is inconsiderate to your neighbors and an empty booth is very distracting to customers. Don’t be in a hurry to leave at the end of the day. I’ve frequently had my largest sales of the day while the other vendors are closing up their booths and I was one of the few still open.
Bonus Tip - If you are one of the fortunate and have a person to help you at shows be sure to show this person your appreciation. For my roadie, all it takes is a slice of pie and a nap in the shade in the middle of the day. Whatever it takes, be sure they know how much you appreciate their assistance.
Good luck to you this show season. I hope these tips help you have a successful show.