Selling Like a Pro: A Guide for Vendors at Trade Events
Everywhere you turn these days there is a trade event or the other suggesting that vendors are needed at the event. The numbers increase drastically as we approach the end of the year. Unfortunately, the feedback from most vendors is that their sales objectives are not always fulfilled.
First thing to note, is that you not selling as a vendor at an event doesn’t mean other vendors didn’t sell out or achieve their goals.
The second thing to note about selling at a trade event is that; (especially one with many vendors competing for limited shoppers ) you must stand out, you must be different.
Think about it, if you were a shopper faced with similar stall sizes, selling identical products with other vendors for an event with a limited time. It becomes any vendor’s game or it becomes the vendor who came well prepared.
However, if you use the tools below you stand a chance at selling out your stock like a pro.
- Brand you
Customers are attracted first visually, before they gain product knowledge, before they empathize with you or before they purchase from you. You, your stall and your products must be a visual delight. There is a reason why everyone who steps into a fast food wants to eat, even when perfectly full. It is in the arrangement of the food, the wall colors, stall seating, music etc. A setting or atmosphere is created which is attractive to purchase.
You must make an effort to brand your space or table. Pay attention to how you stack products, don’t just lay them all on the table, create a beautiful order. If you are selling shoes, arrange them by their sizes, color ranges, male or female. It is not bend down, select (Used goods) market, make the effort. It is better to create a budget for your event, so you can create your own easily moveable stall unit that carries your name and logo. If possible, wear caps, tee shirts with your business name and logo, have promotional items with your logos such as mugs, pens, notepads etc.
- Selling attitude
Attitude is everything. Come prepared to sell, to connect with people and if you repeat the attitude overtime, you will outperform others who are just banking on huge traffic of people to make a sale.
Some tips can include
Always stand in-front of your stall, not behind a desk waiting for people to approach you
Greet everyone that passes in front of your stall
Wear a smile even if you haven’t made a sale, or if traffic is extremely poor at the event.
Offer passerby free drinks from your cooler. I f you can put in ice cubes, and a slice of lemon. They
will wait to talk to you and possibly ask for a refill. That serving-the-drink process keeps them waiting and an opportunity for them to take a good look at your stall and products.
Even when they don’t buy, escort them with a smile. That good karma will find you.
Put up witty signs; e.g Only Black panthers shop here, Welcome to my Wakanda business, Be my customer, don’t defect to other stalls like a Nigerian politician. Tell us your last price, so we can sell to you. We came to Lagos city because of you not to count her bridges. We wanted to dress Prince Harry’s wife for the wedding .
Put up games at your space. A dice, card game or board game should do. Remember selling today is more about entertainment than it is about the value your product brings. Also, customers are looking for experiences to accompany their purchase. Let them remember you for life, let them remember the first time they did business with you.
Ask your customers what they do, offer them referrals to their business if one comes to mind for you. Trading should be a win –win situation and retaining the customer for life. Ask them , how they heard about the event and if they heard about the next event on your calendar. It is a way to invite them again to your stall.
- Create a mock crowd
Every good sales or marketing guru will tell you about early adopters. So hire a crowd or create your own early adopters. You can create one with your friends who will listen to you, show products in your stall. This way, more people get attracted to your stall. These set of people are called influencers. Even gamblers know the trick, they will set up two or three people to be in on the game while fleecing the victim. Anyways we are selling value for the customer, not a con, but the principle still works exactly the same. Every time you go to Shoprite at the palms. You see the long queue for their bread or their cooked food. That line is doing more to attract more people than the taste or price of what is being bought. It means others are willing to test the product or seller.
- Hire a known ( celebrity ) influencer
If I went to a trade fair and one of my favorite celebrities was on hand. I will definitely visit that stall. Such will attract everybody to your stall, and such an influencer will be made to make sales for you. After paying the influencer, you can sweeten it by telling them they make a profit off the daily sales. Today there are more stars willing to take up such a plot, because there is stiff competition, especially among actors, singers. They also have their off seasons when bookings are slow for them. Get a booking agency to set it up, if you are confused about what to do.
If influencers out of reach, hire a clown or mascot, if it is a fair with mothers, the kids will ensure their moms stop for a few minutes.
- Promotions . Offer customers more
When MTN first came into Nigeria, one of their memorable campaigns was BOGOFF. Buy one, get one free. You can offer something such as that or a myriad of others, e.g. half price discount. Offer a free gift to accompany a sale. You can set up a layaway plan for the prospect; the customer makes an initial deposit and pays over 2-3 installments and then you deliver it to the customer. Remember to make sure your promotions are well advertised on your stall. You can have a black slate board that you can clean every hour with a new offer.
- Social Selling
Everyone is online today, you too should connect online, make sure you have social frames for Instagram or facebook, Take pictures with all who visit your store with the frames. It is a great opportunity to ask for your prospects or customers Instagram, facebook or twitter handle instead of having them fill a boring guests /feedback form.
Announce online all the progress you are making at the trade event. People suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). When a product gets sold out, let your online community know it, if it was sold at a discount, announce the discount online, if you can get a video testimonial at the fair, please do. Your phone will start buzzing because people now want to be part of the value your business is sharing.
Dapo Simon Ajeniya among other things is a sales growth driver for various business across finance, media &entertainment, fashion, real estate and others.
Interested in showcasing your business to over 20000 shoppers in Lagos, learn more and sign up here www.retailfest.com.ng/lrf2018.html