Thursday, January 29, 2015

10 Steps to Successful Vendor Events

Hey everyone!

For those that don't know, I am an Independent Consultant for All'asta. All'asta is a new way to home party. I signed up over a year ago and have been having a blast ever since and continue to grow my business. The company is 3 years old, and has really picked up over the past year. When I started, I had no selling experience. No clue what I was doing. But I could see the potential because the company is different than others, especially in our area. I could never see myself selling Thirty One or something so popular because there is too much for me to compete in. But for some reason, I loved All'asta...

So fast forward over a year later. What is my favorite part about my "job"? Vendor shows! This is where you find your hostesses, your future team members. If you are a representative for another company, you really understand what I am talking about. I've even had the fabulous pleasure of organizing my own Vendor events and have had success doing that as well. I may even do another post just on that.

So for this post, I really want to put into words how to prepare for a vendor event. Maybe even help those who are just starting out in the direct selling business to launch their businesses!

How to Get Started

1.  The first thing you want to do is join groups on Facebook that are just for home-based businesses. These group pages advertise different vendor events across multiple states. You can usually find one in your area for every weekend of the year. This is a MUST for being in the know of what's happening in your area. For instance, where I'm from, I belong to these Facebook groups: 

  • Crafters/Vendors/Home based Businesses around the Central MN area
  • Homebased Vendors & Crafters in Central MN, SE ND,  and NE SD
  • Central MN  Area Craft Shows, Vendors and events
Once you find event, contact coordinator right away to ensure there isn't another representative 
from your company! Do not delay in this process as you will most likely lose your spot! Email
coordinator and pay as soon as you can! Also, be on the look out for events that you can't do, but 
that you know are great! Pass that information onto your downline or upline so that someone 
from your company can be represented! That's just you paying it forward! :)

2.  You are going to want to set goals and limits for yourself. There are so many vendor events 
going on that you could have one every weekend if you wanted! Know what works best for you 
and your family. Talk with your husband to make sure your schedules match so you don't have 
to spend extra money on babysitters. Here's what works for me and my family and why:
  • I do 1 vendor event per month on date that my husband doesn't work.
  • I never spend more than $50 on an event that has 500 or less attendees. 
    • {My max is $500 for bigger events}
    • If the event is more than $40, I make sure I don't have to bring my own tables or chairs.
  • I don't travel more than a3 hour radius from my home. 
    • Realistically speaking, it is very unlikely you will host parties that far out.

3. Set goals for yourself for your vendor events.
  • How many parties do you want to schedule? 
    • It is good to have your dates highlighted that you are available.
  • Talk to how many people about the Opportunity for your company!
    • Other consultants are great recruits! 
  • They may not be 100% on board with their own company, and are looking for 
  • something else. 

4. One thing you are not going to want to do is register for events too far in advance. Things tend to come up and chances are you will throw money away. Something may come up in your family, or you go inactive for some reason. Sometimes an event will get canceled and you won't get your money back! I wouldn't recommend signing up for an event more than 2 months in advance unless you know it is a for sure thing! Annual events are the exception to this for the most part as they are reliable to go one! 

 5. Do your research of the events. 

  • Find out if this is the first event or if it's been done before. 
  • Who's the coordinator is, how many events have they done in the past? 
  • If the event is annual, find out how many have attended event in the past.
  •  How many vendors are they looking to get?
  • How do they advertise event?
The more you know, the better prepared you can be! In my experience, here are events that are a hit

 So once you are set up to attend an event as a vendor, here are some tips to getting organized:

6. Stock your supplies/inventory. You don't have to have cash and carry, this doesn't work well with some companies!

  • Marketing Materials: Banners, Business Cards, Signs, Flyers, Pamphlets, Brochures, Catalogs, Specials, Hostess Packets, Recruiting Packets, Order Forms, Invitations, etc.
  • Inventory, have a sampling of what your company offers. You don't need to show everything, but be sure you pique their curiosity!
  • Business Supplies: Notepad, Pens, Calculator, Credit Card Swiper, Bags for customers to carry any purchases in, 
  • Display Supplies: Tables, Chairs, Shelving, Baskets, Table Clothes, lights and decor for sprucing up your booth area. Most of the time, I just use stuff I have lying around at home...this will save you time and money! See what you can get by with, add things here or there, not all at once!
  • Suggestions: Carts for making loading and unloading equipment easier, Totes for storing your supplies. Computer or Ipad for connecting to Internet which make online ordering easier than filling out order forms. 

 7. Know where you are going for your event. Do research if going to different areas to see how many consultants are currently in that area. This will help for recruiting! If a person knows there isn't a lot of competition, this may grab their attention! When I traveled to Fargo, I also was able to inform possible customers/hostesses/recruits that the state of ND has a law that states to start their business, they do not need to purchase an enrollment kit. So essentially, they would be able to start their own business for $0! I would recommend the kit, but just knowing that one little tip could grab someones attention in a blink.

 8. On the day of the event, have all your stuff already loaded up, this will especially easier if you have to leave early in the morning! Dress for success. If you can dress more casual, take advantage of it, comfort will really win out if the event is long! I tend to go for a more dressy-casual and wear some of my product! Pack snacks. lunch, and beverages. This will cut down some of your cost! Plan your departure and arrival so that you give yourself plenty of time to set up, but also so you have time to go around and look at other vendors and meet and greet.

 9. Be open, friendly, honest, but not a know-it-all! No one wants to talk to someone that knows everything about their business, because they will not be able to put themselves in your shoes! Let them think that they can do what you do! This goes same for home parties as well...{Just a little extra tip I threw in there that I learned from Shari McAllister Hudspeth, who does training for consultants from different companies. 
If you haven't already, make sure you sign up for one of her trainings or coordinate one to do 
with your team or company!}

10. Schedule time over the next 2 days to follow up on your leads. I recommend doing a
doorprize, or if you are already required to give a doorprize for the event, make sure you get
information from everyone who takes a catalog from your booth. I haven't had problems with
people signing name, phone # and email address on slips of paper when they want to take a
catalog! You won't get to everyone right away, but divide your stack of leads so that you are
able to contact each contact in the days following your event. If you don't get an answer, leave
a message. If you leave a message, be sure you follow up with a text or another phone call with
a few days after that. This is the most important. If you don't put in the work after, you will
have wasted your time, effort and money. Guaranteed 99% of everyone who took a catalog or
your information, will not contact you, you need to contact them!

I know this is a lot of information to take in. But the more events you do, the easier it gets.
You've got to know yourself and your goals as well as your limits. I'm not an expert, however, 
I'm doing a direct sales business on my own. I'm winging most everything. And there have been 
lots of successes, but there have also been lots of bumps in the roads. Everything is trial and
error. But that is how we learn. And since I've done more than 15 vendor events, I feel this 
information is detrimental to our business and know that I would have loved to know some of
these things when I first got started. I hope this information will help you. Share with your team
or direct sales group. Even if you are a craftor, some of this information will apply to you too!

Anyways, now that I've said what I've wanted to say, go check out my All'asta website and get
to shopping! :)

Wish you all many blessings in your Vendor events and business!


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