What NOT TO DO at Vendor Shows!

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What NOT TO DO at Vendor Shows! Vendor shows can be a great place to meet new people to sell your product to, book shows with and recruit to do your business! Many people sign up for vendor shows and feel frustrated when NONE of these things happen! They find vendor shows a waste of time and money! Of course they do! They are doing some or all of these 8 things NOT TO DO at vendor shows! Are you?

The 8 things NOT TO DO at vendor shows are:

1. Do NOT spend a lot of money for vendor shows!

In my experience, you can get as much or more business from small vendor shows that cost $15-$50 for a table than one that costs $100-$1000. Small vendor shows if well publicized can mean business! At smaller more intimate events, you are able to have good, meaningful conversations with potential customers, hostesses or recruits in order to build rapport and a relationship. Direct sales is a relationship business so the more you are able to really speak with people and get to know them the better outcome you will have.

2. Do NOT bring all your samples and display items!

Bring a small display that is easy to set up and take down and doesn’t require a lot of time! If recruiting is your focus and it should be at vendor shows, you want potential team members to see just how easy vendor shows can be. Also, if you dread doing vendor shows because of the amount of work it creates for you, you aren’t going to want to do them and that will definitely show in your interaction with potential customers and recruits. Bring a good representation of your products but don’t bring EVERY sample you own! Your table will look crowded! Make it easy for people to know exactly what you’re selling at a glance!

3. Do NOT sit behind the table!

When I participated in vendor events, I couldn’t believe how other vendors acted! They sat behind their table, never made eye contact or spoke to people and spent most of their time on their phone or computer! No wonder they never booked shows or recruited!

Make it your mission to have FUN and be ENGAGED! People are drawn to those who are having fun!

Standing in front of your table shows you’re engaged. Be ready to smile, catch people’s eye and say hello and ask “Have you seen (your product) before?”  “Have you tried and liked it?” Then be ready to say “Have a wonderful day!” if the answer is NO and “May I tell you a little about xxxxx?” if they say YES! Be ready to help them try your product whether it’s to hand them a candle to have them smell it, put on a piece of jewelry on them if that’s what you sell or hand them a sample if food is your product. Show you are interested in them!

4. Do NOT do draws!

At vendor events, I NEVER did draws to get contact information! In my experience, tons of people put their names in draws just to win something but they aren’t really interested in your product. It’s a waste of time to call 100 names when they are NOT your potential customer!!

Have a clip board with paper and after you’ve built a rapport with a potential customer who has expressed interest in knowing more about your product, service, or business ask them if they are interested in having you send them your catalogue. At that time, collect their name, address and phone number and ask how they prefer to be contacted by email, Facebook, phone or text.

10 SMOKIN’ HOT leads are better than 100 stone cold ones!

5. Do NOT sell your products!

Vendor shows are a great place to find potential recruits to join your business! If you want to grow your team business then RECRUITING should be your primary focus at vendor shows!!

Once you’ve made eye contact, smiled, created a warm conversation and found out that your potential is interested in your product, start the recruiting conversation with “Have you ever thought of doing this type of business? If you get a yes, have a clip board with a piece of paper ready and collect their name, number and email. Arrange a time within 24 hours to connect and give more information about the business. Let them know that it’s better to connect away from the vendor show when you can give them your undivided attention and give them a prepared recruiting package to take home and read over before you speak with them. Let them know you are excited to speak with them!!!

It’s better to recruit a team member that will result in unlimited future revenue than to sell a $20 product!

6. Do NOT go alone!

NEVER go to a vendor show alone! If you have a new recruit, it is THE BEST place to train and coach them on how to do your business and how to talk to potential customers and recruits.

If your focus is RECRUITING and BUILDING a team having a team member there that you can refer to when you are approaching another potential recruit is fantastic! They can speak about their experience starting out with the product, about how you trained them, etc. Having a team member there is a great RECRUITING tool! It shows potential recruits that you support your team with training.

7. Do NOT complain!

Some vendor events are slow!! Other vendors sit around and complain about how slow things are! Please DON”T do that! Negativity breeds negativity! All of a sudden the vendor show turns into a bitch fest about how badly the organizer publicized the event. What good does that do?

Make the BEST of EVERY vendor event. During those shows and I’ve been at them too, I sold more product, made more connections and booked more shows! Why? I was having fun, going around and speaking to other vendors, and doing business. I was building relationships and generally being POSITIVE!! Positive attracts positive! Try it!! Other vendors are potential customers, great to network with and get to know!! Remember to build relationships with everyone!!

8. Do NOT wait long to follow-up!

The FORTUNE IS IN THE FOLLOW UP! I know you hear this ALL the time in direct sales but IT IS SO TRUE! You should send a catalogue within 24-48 hours after a vendor show to everyone you spoke to about sending a catalogue and follow-up with a phone call, email or text a day or so after they should have received it (be sure to ask how they prefer to be contacted) to book a show.

It’s SO IMPORTANT to follow-up within 24-48 hours about your business opportunity with those who indicated they were interested in that. Give them a call at the time you scheduled and be sure to talk to them about your product, your business and joining your team. Ask them if they’ve read your sponsoring package and if they have any questions.  Answer them head on! Be sure to ASK them to join your team once you’ve given them the information and answered all their questions with a “I’d love for you to join my team! Let’s get you started!”

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Leave me a comment explaining what you feel is important to NOT DO at vendor shows!

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About Sandra

In a previous life, Sandra was an adult educator, counsellor and trainer. While running a successful direct marketing business she became passionate about business, social media and coaching. She strives everyday for a life full of health, wellness, adventure, passion and purpose!


  1. Sandra – After doing several health and wellness shows over the years, I totally agree with all your awesome tips! This is perfect for new people starting their businesses and deciding if they should invest in trade shows for lead generation…and when they do, they will know exactly what ‘not’ to do to get the results they are looking for.

  2. Anna Cervo says

    Hi Sandra,
    I love the way you list these practical tips to get the best out of vendor shows. Would it be ok to forward this email to my list of vendor friends?

  3. This is very true! Great post – I probably could have saved myself some time if I would have learned some of those earlier!

  4. Hi Sandra,
    Thanks for the great tips.. definitely always stand in front of your table, I have done that from day one.
    Learned over the years not to have draws… as you said, they fill the ballot to be in the draw and when you call, forget it they are not interested..
    With all the vendor shows I have attended over the years, my team should be “huge”.. and it’s not, that’s what I have to work on… and again a smaller display is perfect, they want to see more, good reason to book a party. Thanks Sandra

  5. Some really great pointers for Vendor Events! I am always surprised when I go to events and most of the vendors are “hiding” behind their tables. They are usually the ones that complain too! I love being out front and engaging with people.

  6. Thank you Sandra for the great advice. I used this information for my last vendor show and it worked great. I especially loved the advice on not doing a draw to get people’s names. Instead of a huge list of people who probably aren’t interested I had 4 great leads! Definitely a better bang for my buck! Thank you!

  7. Judith Cane says

    What a great blog Sandra. Every point was spot on.

  8. Sandra,
    I have tremendous confidence that implementing your tips for what NOT to do, is going to make a huge impact on the next vendor event I participate in! Thank You so much for the time and effort you put into helping other people find success. I really appreciate your dedication to the direct sales community.

  9. These are great tips! Getting ready for a big show this weekend and this is just what I needed to read.

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