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10 Lessons Learned From A Local Home & Garden Show

ImageI just participated in a local Home and Garden Show put on by the local chamber this past weekend.   We had a major snow storm, so while traffic was light I was able to observe and reflect on what I could do better for next year.   Here are some ideas:

1.  Make sure you have a sign up high on the backdrop of the booth with your name or something eye catching.  All the people were looking up as they entered an aisle and then stopped where something caught their eye.  My booth had everything eye level and it was lost among the neighbors.

2.  Get interactive – Some ideas I have on the drawing board for next year is have Wii competitions, a T shirt toss and making sure I work the aisle.  Depends on your product, but you have to capture them somehow.

3.  Know your market – I have two distinct businesses and one was more geared to the other vendors while one was more attractive to the visitors to the show – Set up your booth accordingly or even have two different booths.  People were confused by what exactly it was that I did.

4.  Pre market – Use your social media, newspaper, radio, etc. to let people know you are going to be at the show.  Offer day of show specials if you can.

5.  Post market – Post pictures and thank people for dropping by – follow up with any leads without doing a hard sell.    Draw for door prizes after and send them in the mail.   I already have a new lead and I’m not sure I would have if the drawing had been at the show.  More contacts the better.  I sent E-mails telling them they won another when I sent their prize and finally they received a package in the mail.

6.   Set up the day before if you can.  It creates less stress and you will come into the show the next day relaxed and ready to promote.  It also allows you time to step back and see what else you might need.   Spend this time visiting with the other vendors around you while you have the time to do so.  Maybe even offer to help them or bring in treats for all of them while they are setting up.

7.   Use your Facebook and Twitter to interact from the show.  Promote the other vendors around you also – build some goodwill.

8.    Work with cards you are dealt – it may be a lousy weather day, the crowds may be slim, your location might reach the level of “sucky”, but ultimately how you handle and overcome will have an effect on the outcome.   I realized that I had more time to interact with those stopping by my booth and of course, I used my down time to compose this blog.

9.   Visit all the other vendors that are there – it takes a “village” or “bunch of vendors” for a successful event.  Thank them for helping to build the event (don’t interrupt their sales time).  It might take a couple of three laps around before you catch them all, but getting up and moving once in a while is good for us all.

10.  Finally, if the show is open until 5 pm – keep your booth open and stocked and ready for the customer until 5 pm.  When vendors break down early it hurts the others in the show.  This is no different than hours at your store, except you are now part of a partnership that needs to support each other and work together.


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