Maximizing vendor events (Tab’s Tips!)

March 24, 2014

Written By

Tabitha Dumas

One of the best ways to Elevate Your Image and Expand Your Influence is by participating in vendor events. I want to make sure you’re strategically maximizing vendor events with these vendor tips.

10 tips for maximizing vendor events.

Make sure you download my vendor checklist PDF before your next event: Vendor Checklist

Also check out my Vendor Tips Pinterest board:

Follow’s board Business:: vendor tips on Pinterest.

I have been involved in the direct sales industry for about 15 years now and have hosted, promoted and participated in dozens of vendor events over time, with varying degrees of success. I gained a lot of valuable experience that way. More recently, I have attended and participated in local small business vendor events, which share many similarities to the direct sales variety. Why participate in vendor events? As I see it, these should be your goals:

  • Reconnecting with current customers and meeting their friends, colleagues and cohorts
  • Connecting with new customers or prospects
  • Increased brand recognition
  • Networking with fellow vendors and those planning/hosting the event
  • Selling products OR
  •  Setting up one-on-ones or consultations

Whether you are a small business owner, represent a large company or are a direct sales consultant, I hope you’ll find some of these tips useful.

RECONNECTING WITH CURRENT CUSTOMERS and meeting their friends and cohorts

I wish this was a no-brainer but if you are investing your time and energy into a vendor event…

1. Invite your current clients plus colleagues and prospects (and even friends and family, when appropriate). Tell them, “I’d love to see you there!” and “Bring a friend!” Not only will the event planners appreciate the extra attendees but a vendor fair is an excellent opportunity for your fans to introduce their people to you. Consider offering a special to your current customers, too, especially if they introduce you to someone new via the event.

  • Bonus tip! Introduce your customers to other vendors to add even more value to the event.


2. Stand at your booth or table. This makes your table more approachable and encourages interaction. You want them to feel comfortable perusing your products or services and asking questions. If you feel awkward, straighten or rearrange items to busy yourself.

Tabitha Dumas small business expo blogging class

Stand up…and smile! Me at the Gilbert Chamber Small Business Growth Conference and Expo, November 2012.

TALK TO PEOPLE, too. Ask them, “How are you enjoying the event?” or “What’s been your favorite booth so far?” Invite them into a conversation and they will linger.

3. Have something to DO at your booth.  Make sure your display is interactive, and have plenty of samples. If you sell something wearable, let people try it on. Again, this encourages lingering and gives you a better opportunity to connect with people. Having a “spin the wheel” game is also a great tactic. tips maximizing vendor events

Free bookmarks and candy plus lots to look at and explore at my booth.

4. Offer a giveaway or raffle prize to collect your prospects’ name, phone number and e-mail so they don’t just walk off with your information and disappear into oblivion.

If you aren’t a product-based business, create a fun gift basket your people would like. Mine usually include stationary, chocolate and a coffee mug.

Reach out to each person who entered and offer them a bonus or freebie so everyone is a winner. tips maximizing vendor events

Allow people to sign up for more information or to receive your email newsletter. Offer a giveaway, too!

Bonus tip! Have treats, especially chocolate. People can’t resist candy!


5. Make the most of your space.

  • Have a conversation piece that reflects your business and causes people to stop and check it out more closely. I’m a writer so mine is a vintage typewriter and always attracts attention because people want to look at it, touch it and ask me about it. tips maximizing vendor events

See? Dave couldn’t resist!

  •  Make sure your booth or table reflects you and your brand. Have promotional materials ready, get your logo printed on a tablecloth in your brand colors and have attention-grabbing signage and decorations.
  •  Put products at various heights to add interest and consider adding large table-top signs or a plant to add texture.

If you want to add some FALL FLAIR, check out this post with lots of Fall Vendor Tips.

Deb's booth various heights tips for vendor events

Deb’s Silpada jewelry booth has varying heights.

6. Use the event to increase positive PR (public relations). Vendors events make for great PR, especially if they benefit a cause or charity. Put the event info in your email newsletter and post about it on social media. At the event, take pictures to post later. You could even do a press release about it. tips maximizing vendor events

My booth, September 2013. The magazine I’d been recently featured in adds credibility and is a great conversation piece.


7. Schmooze your fellow vendors–they’re some of your best prospects! Psssttt….This is one of my favorites for maximizing vendor events!

  • Check out your fellow vendors beforehand. Look them up on social media and say “Hello, I look forward to meeting you!”
  • For those who you could cross-promote with, ask them to keep your info at their table to pass out–or better yet, to point people toward your booth. Of course you should offer to do the same.
  • Bring along a small goody with your information included and give them out to the other vendors before or after the event.

I’m still friends with or in touch with people I met 15 years ago, mainly because I went above and beyond to network.


8. Make it easy to shop. tab's tips for maximizing vendor events

Let people touch it and try it on. Vendor event I hosted in my home, October 2006.

As mentioned above, make your booth appealing and interactive. Here are a few bonus tips for those of you selling products:

  • Allow sampling
  • Encourage trying on
  • Have prices clearly marked
  • Have gift certificates available
  • Have wish lists available
  • Offer complimentary gift wrap
  • Offer specials and discounts (buy one, get one half price…spend $50 and get a free gift…crack a plastic Easter egg to receive a discount, etc.)


Why do an event if it doesn’t give you a chance to tell people more about what you do?

9. Have your calendar ready and offer an incentive for them to schedule their consultation or one-on-one with you on the spot. If you’re a direct sales company, have hostess packets and team member packets ready to give out.

10. Follow up. The real power of a vendor events lies in your follow-up. Take the information you collected and send the email newsletter, ‘like’ their Facebook page or send them a quick note in the mail to keep the momentum going.

I hope these tips help make your next vendor event a smashing success!

Grab my FREE Vendor Checklist PDF, too!!

Maximize your vendor events. Tips from Tabitha Dumas, Image and Influence Strategist

What questions do you have about maximizing your participation in a vendor event? I’ll be happy to answer them!

{portions of this post first appeared on my FanTABulous Women blog on October 18th, 2011}


  1. Tandy

    Wonderful post! We are linking to this great article on our site.

    Keep up the great writing.



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