10 Tips for doing a Trade Show like a Pro
Ok, so we aren't exactly Pros by any means (this was our first trade show after all!) but here's some things we learnt from doing Life Instyle:
1. Be human. (Most important!)
You can't help it, you are human, don't try to hide it. Sometimes we jumbled our words, forgot things, dropped business cards on the floor. It's ok. You know the best thing? The person you are talking to is a human too.
2. Be prepared.
Think about the questions you might be asked and prepare a memory bank of answers, practice and get familiar with them. Even better offer a resolution before the question needs to be asked. We knew a question we'd be asked was "where will customers use them?" so we styled the lockers to explain it, preempting the question.
3. Know your numbers.
Over the four days we learnt that what the buyers were really interested in was the wholesale price. On day one we left this part til the end of our spiel, by day four it often came right after a "hello". Don't be afraid to talk money.
4. Your stand matters...
When you are surrounded by beautiful, well executed stands, you don't want to be standing out for the wrong reasons. We tried to make sure our space was eye catching, accessible and represented the feel of the brand. We chose bold, block colours and left a lot of floor space free for people to come in.
5. But it's not everything.
It's important to remember that you are selling your product not the stuff that makes your product look good. It doesn't need to cost a fortune and while we lost a lot of sleep figuring out how to merch our goods, it is just one part of the bigger puzzle. Your brand will speak through every touch point, try to consider what the buyer experiences and make every element reflective of the image you want to impart.
6. Think about it.
We learnt that it was ok to sometimes say "we'll have a think and let you know." It can be a bit daunting having to answer questions on the spot so rather than commit to a reply then and there we were honest and said we needed to talk it through and would let them know. (Another 'be human' example!)
7. Make friends.
With your stand neighbours, with the organisers, with the cleaners, with the retailers, with any random person who comes by. Yes, the aim of the game is to sell but you never know what you may need or who you are talking to! Be nice, always.
8. Be comfy.
Ok so we both did wear heals on some days but only very comfy ones! The key is to be yourself and reflect the brand at the same time. Wear something you feel good in. For me that's a jumpsuit coz I feel like I can do anything in a onesie!! (except maybe go to the toilet!!)
9. Follow up.
The truth is, once the show is over the work really begins. There has been no rest. The retailers are busy and have a stack of orders to deal with, make sure they know you are still there and communicate with them. This really is the time where the investment pays off.
10. Get social.
It's not healthy but we were glued to our phones! Likes, comments and photos were popping up all the time and it was a great feeling. Instagram is a great way to get on peoples radar and create a connection. The event hashtag worked really well for this. Use it.
The truth is: we got stuff wrong. Overall, we achieved what we had hoped we would and more. We went home feeling proud and exhausted but mostly just excited for what is coming next.