Are you prepared for vendor shows?

If you have never participated in a vendor show, there are a few things you will want to consider. Foremost, decide whether attending it will be a good use of your time. Why not attend a few, as a guest, before you spend on an admission fee? This allows you to see the types of businesses who attend and the level of interaction that occurs between vendors and attendees.

There are a number of critical questions to ask before attending. Is the show you are considering a regular event? Who will be attending? Is advertising prior to the event sufficient to draw a crowd? Will you be able to sell your product or are you only allowed to display material?

When considering the cost of the show, make sure you take into account not only the monetary investment for attending but also the cost but your time.

Once you decide to attend, plan your display table so it stands out. Make it colorful, interesting and attractive, but not overcrowded. A good tip is to arrange your information on different levels. Be sure and offer a “card drop” for a giveaway; that lets you capture the attendees’ information.

Be certain you stand in front of your table. The table can be a perceived barrier between you and your potential connection. Make eye contact with people as they near your table. Keep your phone in your pocket; checking your phone is likely to keep people walking on by. The perception is that you are too busy to talk. And don’t forget the follow-up! Make good use of the business cards you collected and use the event’s exhibitor list to contact appropriate companies after the show. With some simple preparation, you can make your next show a success.

Angella Luyk is CEO of One Stop Janitorial Carpet Supply and can be reached She is the 2014 president of the Rochester Women’s Network, which produces this column.

Originally published in the Democrat & Chronicle on July 14th, 2014.