Participating at Pulse, Top Drawer, Bubble, or Scoop this year?
Trade shows can be a great way to grow your business and get your brand out into the world. While there are a lot of benefits, trade shows can also be a huge investment of both your time and money. To help you make the most of your efforts, I’ve pulled together some of my top tips for trade show sales success.
Say hello & be positive.
This may seem basic, but there are so many times I walk past a stand at a trade show and find the brand representatives so focused on their cell phones or in a conversation with each other that they don’t even look up to say hello.
While it’s fine to look busy, stay engaged with the visitors that walk by – even when they don’t stop immediately at your booth. Smile, say hello, and ask them how the show has been for them.
Pay attention to everyone, whether they are a prospect or not. If you look like you are having fun with the crowd, people will be attracted to your energy.
Take time to understand your prospective retailers.
When someone stops by your stand, it’s easy to jump right into a monologue about your brand, backstory, bestselling styles, ect. Rather than going into too many details about yourself at first, try to make an effort to ask questions about the visitor’s businesses before making any recommendations.
Where is their store located? What type of customers do they have? What time of year are they the busiest? What other products and brands are working well for them?
The more information you find out, the easier it will be to put together an assortment that makes sense for them. Taking time to get to know a new stockiest also builds trust, and is the start to a mutually beneficial relationship.
Be sure your prices are attractive.
Are you confident in your pricing? What markup are you offering to retailers?
First thing first, always include VAT in your recommended retail price. Even if you aren’t VAT registered, stockists will expect that whatever retail you suggest will already account for VAT.
In terms of markup, after VAT is removed stockists will expect to have at least a 2 – 2.5 x markup (margin of 50 – 60%) depending on the industry and type of product. Need a pricing crash course? You can grab my free Pricing Guide here.
Stop talking minimum order, start talking optimal collection.
While having a set minimum order is a common practice, I challenge you to think about your minimum order more in terms of what assortment best represents your brand.
For example: If you’re a jewellery brand, does your brand look best when a retailer showcases 12 pairs of earrings, 6 bracelets, and 4 rings? What would an assortment like that (with back-up quantities) cost for them?
This is where your minimum order amount should come from and when you show a retailer why they will be much more inclined move forward.
Follow up, follow up, follow up.
Not all the magic happens at the show! Be sure to grab all visitor’s details and reach out in thoughtful ways. Send personalised thank you emails to everyone who stopped by, and even if they aren’t interested for the moment, send updates or info on future events periodically throughout the year.
Did you receive a lot of initial orders? Congrats! Now the real work begins. Be sure to follow-up consistently. Create a schedule so stockists hear from you on a regular basis, every 6 weeks or so. It shouldn’t always be to sell, it’s nice to ask about them, their store and work towards building a stronger relationship!
That’s where the real sales results will come from.
Looking for more support as you prep for your next trade show? I’d love to help! Feel free to connect with me here.