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a few show thoughts (Read 2,665 times)
 
Brad_Mortensen
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a few show thoughts
Feb 7th, 2009 at 10:39am
 
I don't know if this will be of interest to anyone or not, but felt it wasn't a bad idea to post it anyway.
This is my experience of doing shows and it might give some of the people who are new at shows an idea or two.
I am not claiming to be an expert or that anyone even has to pay it any attention, it is just what worked for me.

First off, I always kept in mind that when I am at a show I am asking people to give me their money. There is nothing in my booth they have to have and they really don't care how much work or time I put into an item.
Many times it is personality that sell the item.
I like people and enjoy talking, so it is ok if we talk about fishing or anything, it is not always push to buy. Of course you have to balance that with practicality. Don't ignore other people to be a good old boy with one person.
Be genuine with people, don't do the fake smile and it is a kiss of death to talk down to a customer. (I have honestly seen customers put a high dollar item down and the money back in their pocket because the vendor took a superior attitude) In the same bend if you act like you don't have time to deal with them they will feel like they don't have time to give you money.

When at a show I try to treat every single person who comes to my booth like they are very important to me.. and they are.. I want their money.
But, I am not subserviant to them, I treat them like a friend. I know everyone is going of course, your not telliing us anything. Then why do so many vendors have a problem in this area?

I set up a bunch of small items $5-$10 range,  then mid price range up to about $50 and only set up a few higher dollar items, even if I have cases of them in the truck. Now what I feel is a very important part of the set up... I walk up as a customer and pay attention what my eyes are naturally drawn to. Where does the eye go from there? Is there a flow? Do your eyes get captured by some interesting items, do they lead to a bigger priced item? If you didn't know everything there, would it draw you into your booth? Often times it only takes moving one or two items to draw people in, which is half the battle to get into their pocket.

Pay close attention to how people react to your booth, what they look at first etc. That simple thing of noticing what people were doing made me a bunch of money more then once. While setting up outside (which was the majority of my set ups) I noticed a lot of people would look in but not come in. I rearranged my display many times with little effect.  When I saw a tall man stoop just a bit to look in.... I had 6' side walls , I ordered up 7' side walls and my business more then doubled. Even the shorter people didn't like the closed in feeling the 6" walls had Even though the peak was close to 10' high . The items didn't change, it was intirely the entrance height of my tent.

Anyway, I really don't know if this will help anyone, but I hope it does. A lot of the times doing shows is so much more then what you have on the table.

Brad

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Ron Sardo
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Re: a few show thoughts
Reply #1 - Feb 7th, 2009 at 10:52am
 
Good Advice Brad
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Brendan McAreavy
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Re: a few show thoughts
Reply #2 - Feb 7th, 2009 at 10:55am
 
Brad, I think you will help a whole lot of people because that information is exactly the type of stuff we need to know because we are learning from real experience.

Thanks for all that typing, I don't do shows but if I ever do I am better prepared.
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« Last Edit: Feb 7th, 2009 at 10:55am by Brendan McAreavy »  

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Brad_Mortensen
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Re: a few show thoughts
Reply #3 - Feb 7th, 2009 at 1:21pm
 
Just read a post by Mike B in a different thread and it brought of stuff up that should also be concidered.
Don't PO the guy next to you! Sometimes it can't be helped, but you should minimize it as much as you can. Because they can hurt your sales when they start talking to the customers and other vendors. And they will talk!
Keep in mind if  you are the new guy at the show or just starting to go to shows, many of the vendors know each other from other shows. Most compare scheduals, which can be a good thing. Getting to know the right guy can put you in a little gold mind (I think we all have one or two shows we keep to our self and our friends where the money flows.) Don't do any serious brown nosing, just don't go out of your way to up set them. They can be a serious sourse of info and income. I always found it best to be neutral in the little dramas and bickering (some times that is hard to do), listen and just be an open nice guy. You might find your self at that 6-10 vendor show with 1000 people wanting to spend money. And those shows are out there!

Common things to watch for (most pertain to outside shows):

Avoid repettative noise
Loud noise
Keep your trash picked up and out of sight
Put BIG flags on your guide lines (people are going to still trip over them, but not as many)
Talk to the guy next door befor you stake at his side wall. (even if it is in your space.)
(many times vendors will agree to stake close together and put a chair or something infront of  the space between them. It solves problems with each other and customers and gives each a little extra space on the other side.
If you are going to pull your front sidewall up as an awning, set your tent back so the awning when up lines up with the trade row. (this is how I set up) Even though you can get away with the awning sticking out a bit, it will PO the guy next to you, because it kind of bottle necks the customers at your booth. (trust me some guy will be out there measuring to be sure you aren't 2" farther out then him.)
In the same bend if you set back too far, the customers can and will skip past you.

If you set up with people who trade under canvas, offer to help with the heavey lifting, poles etc. But, let them handle their own canvas. This is real important. Everyone folds thier canvas their own way, and you stepping in thinking you are helping is probably upsetting them and messing up thier system.

Anyway, a few more things for thought.

Brad
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Mike Baber
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Re: a few show thoughts
Reply #4 - Feb 7th, 2009 at 5:14pm
 
When you go to buy your canopy tent, consider one with sides, even if you don't need them, its nice to know you have them if ever needed. Instead of tie downs, I use 4 - 4" X 18" white PVC with a cap on both ends, drilled one end to accolade a 1/2" X 4" I-bolt, make sure you put a nut and washer on the end of your I-bolt, this keep it from pulling out when you pour in your quikrete. Fill it with quikrete, glue the caps on with pvc glue and their ya have it... I also use nylon rope to attach each weight to the corners of each pole and I use S hooks as my attachment hooks.
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Re: a few show thoughts
Reply #5 - Feb 7th, 2009 at 10:05pm
 
I've had much of the same experience you describe, Brad. Your comments about being friendly, but not too pushy are right on. Also, the friendships and connections you can make through the other vendors a large part of the appeal for doing shows, at least for LOML and me. It pays to be a good neighbor, and to form your alliances carefully, and as neutrally as possible.

Great advice.  smiley=thumbsup.gif
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Re: a few show thoughts
Reply #6 - Feb 8th, 2009 at 12:52am
 
The PVC doesn't even need to be filled with concrete.  You can use sand, it's easier.

JimQ
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Re: a few show thoughts
Reply #7 - Feb 8th, 2009 at 2:38am
 
yes indeed, thanks for bringing these topics up..


I hadnt considered the need for a canopy and all... i think i will go with the ez up to start with. do i really need walls for it? the website i looked at seemed to have the canopies in stock but it said nothing of the walls for that particular model.

man so much to think about and consider.


ps... the pics of the booths that were posted were very helpful.
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« Last Edit: Feb 8th, 2009 at 3:40am by Junior Adams »  
 
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Mike Baber
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Re: a few show thoughts
Reply #8 - Feb 8th, 2009 at 8:36am
 
Junior Adams wrote on Feb 8th, 2009 at 2:38am:
yes indeed, thanks for bringing these topics up..


I hadnt considered the need for a canopy and all... i think i will go with the ez up to start with. do i really need walls for it? the website i looked at seemed to have the canopies in stock but it said nothing of the walls for that particular model.

man so much to think about and consider.


ps... the pics of the booths that were posted were very helpful.


Jr... the only thing I can say is, its best to have them and not need them than it is to need them and not have them... remember my neighbor selling Avon, I didn't know about the walls either till my run in with her, now I'm prepared.
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Re: a few show thoughts
Reply #9 - Feb 8th, 2009 at 8:56am
 
Jr.
  The EZ up that I have came with the sides, I got it at Sams CLub and it was less than $300.00  I also think you might find a pic of my booth set up from a couple of years ago in my gallery.
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Re: a few show thoughts
Reply #10 - Feb 8th, 2009 at 9:33pm
 
I have three walls down 99% of the time, a small breeze can knock 10 HFs down real quick. I said in another post, when, not if, the wind and rain comes you need walls.
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Brad_Mortensen
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Re: a few show thoughts
Reply #11 - Feb 10th, 2009 at 12:22am
 
I grabbed this from another post of Anthony's in another thread.
If you want to do 2K in sales you need 5K in inventory.

There is a math formula for this and while I do not remember the exact formula, it boils down to something like for every 100 items you have that are viewed by 100 people, 4 will definately sell. It is a brute force approach to sales, something many big stores and "junk" dealers embrace. (saddly)
While quality products and quality personality will elevate sale %'s conciderably, as Anthony mentioned it is very important to not go understocked.

But, occationally you will find yourself short of items to sell, at that point you really need to make some hard discussions, including if you should go to the show as a vendor.
If you go to the show here is a couple suggestions that you may want to think about.
Print up a bunch of pamphlet, with photos of your work, promoting custom orders and spend the show time networking with both the vendors and potential customers.

Do demonstrations at the show, this will increase your saleable items while at the show and draw people in to watch you.

Pay even closer attention to your display, things you may over look when fully stocked will stand out when low on product.

(This one may sound silly but it works) Bring an extra person or two with you to the show. It fills up the booth and Do not sit around (if you don't have the product with you it is even more important that you are standing, but don't look desperate.) Talk about the products with each other, people will stop to listen and look.  It also allows you to go to the bathroom when you need and gives a couple more people talking up your stuff when you are busy with another customer.

Have an item or two that you encourage people to touch. People are tactile, if you have a texture or smoothness that is unique it will fasinate them. If you have something extremely smooth, first let them touch it with their hands then take it and gently slide it over their arm or cheek.  (I have moved litterally 100's of items doing this.)

In "97" I had a once in a life time show, at the end of 3 days I had only 8 items left.. I was estatic, until it hit me I had another show in 2 weeks, then I went into a panic.

anyway, just a few more thoughts.

Brad
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Re: a few show thoughts
Reply #12 - Feb 10th, 2009 at 2:25pm
 
Brad_Mortensen wrote on Feb 10th, 2009 at 12:22am:
...Have an item or two that you encourage people to touch. People are tactile, if you have a texture or smoothness that is unique it will fasinate them...

For my first couple shows, I had a few small signs around my display that said "Please ask before handling". Some people didn't see (or heed) the signs, and others would just back off and not touch anything.

Now, I encourage booth visitors to handle the pieces. I tell people "Feel free to pick any of the pieces up. They're meant to be handled. I just ask that you don't juggle with them". That usually gets a chuckle, and folks tend to relax and spend more time checking out my work. I've found that people tend to be real careful with my stuff. (Knock on wood.)
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Re: a few show thoughts
Reply #13 - Feb 10th, 2009 at 3:59pm
 
I have never sold anything Sad but I've given lots of stuff away and the first thing people do is feel the piece.  I've watched people stand and talk while unconsciously feeling the bowl or whatever they have in their hands and that tactile experience seems to be very attractive.  Have you ever been in an old house and remarked, or been remarked to, about the patina on an old newel post or handrail?  There seems to be something elemental about smooth wood.
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Re: a few show thoughts
Reply #14 - Feb 12th, 2009 at 7:40am
 
the first thing my wife does when i give her a new turning... is rub it against her cheek. She says that is the best way for her to feel how smooth the wood really is. it still amazes her that it is possible to make it so smooth.
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