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Photography by Radiant Sparks

As a small business owner, it is almost a given to try new  products and new ventures. Being a vendor is a great opportunity for small businesses because it ‘s a two-fold opportunity. It allows business owners to expose their businesses at local events such as fairs, conventions and trade shows in return, business owners are also able to sell their products to attendees of these type of events. Seems like a win win situation right? Not all the time. If you are a new vendor you may want to read these tips before paying vendor fees:

Do your research when looking for a vendor opportunity.

One great tip to follow when being a vendor is ask yourself who, what, when, where, and why. This concept was useful in elementary school and it still holds true when considering vendor opportunities. When in doubt always ask questions. Who is hosting the event? How have the host or hostess done in the past with their events? Who has heard of their current and past events? How many people have attended their events? These questions may sound minuscule, but when you are a vendor these are questions that really matter. If your business have a product that people want, you may want to invest in events that not only promote their events, but will promote their vendors’ businesses as well.

Ask other vendors about events you may be interested in

Don’t be afraid to communicate with other vendors that are working the same venue as you. It may seem like competition but you can actually use other vendors to benefit you because some will share information about new upcoming products, setting up vendor booths and tips for better customer service. In addition, most vendors will know the history of most of the events in the local area and will not mind sharing their honest experience about events.

Don’t assume that your vendor fee covers the entrance fee. Especially when you are a vendor for events such as concerts, conferences or any similar events. Also remember to ask the event coordinator if your vendor fee will cover items such as advertising, free meal, table and electricity.

Do make the best out of an event that has mostly vendors instead of customers. Instead of getting upset if your booth or table didn’t get much traffic, use your time wisely. Think of ways to take your business to the next level. Pass out business cards, speak to everyone passing not just the ones close to your table or booth. If all fails, consider hosting a raffle or drawing.

Ask about ticket sales and projected attendance rate before paying your vendor fee. This is similar to asking for the Carfax report before buying a used car. It’s a must. Keep in mind that it’s sometimes hard for an event coordinator to project the attendance for upcoming event, but they should be able to share with you what they are doing to market the event either online or in person.

Here’s a extra bonus that I’ve used to drive sales to my booth the day of the event: 

If the event coordinator is promoting the event online on social network, JOIN IN.. Why wait until the day of the event? Share the event on your page so your clients or potential clients will know where to find you either at the upcoming event or to purchase from you directly.

Don’t assume that the person coordinating the event cares about you or your business. As a vendor, don’t assume that the event coordinator will advertise your business. Some planners do and some don’t. Make sure you take the time to promote that your company will be at the upcoming event.

Please take precaution if you have a popular business such as jewelry and accessories because it may be hard to promote your business if the event has several vendors with same or similar products.

Be really creative when possible. Sometimes your creativity sells

Remember as a vendor, presentation is everything. So being professional is the key. At each event you only have one opportunity to reach potential customers so do not take it lightly. Ready to start your first vendor event? Join Vendor Preferred to learn about upcoming vending opportunities.

Read more on being a successful vendor ~~~~> HERE


LaNette Kincaid is a Marine wife and mother of two, that took on the challenge of owning a business shortly after graduating college. Most of her tips and advice that you will read in our magazine will come from her personal experiences of trial and error. To see more of LaNette’s business and inspirational tips be sure to follow her on Twitter @LaNetteKincaid

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