Don’t be that organizer

Y’all, getting vendors for events can be difficult sometimes, I totally get it.

There are many methods I recommend when it comes to getting vendors. For example:

  • Reach out to the corporate office for recommended reps in that area.
  • *Network, network, network…. make connections with other coordinators and vendors and ask for recommendations from them.
  • *Find quality artists, crafters and vendors in the area and extend an invitation for them to join your event.
  • *Post in Facebook groups.
  • *Connect with Chambers of Commerce in the area of the event.
  • *Do a sponsored FB post calling for vendors.
  • *Locate community calendars and add your info to them. Some are free, some are paid.
  • *Join the FB groups of the reps you want as vendors. Join their community. Get to know them. 
  • *Event websites.
  • *You also have Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Alignable and other platforms to make connections, as well as in person networking events.
  • *Get to know your vendors so that they recommend other vendors to your events. In this arena, I am very blessed. I have an amazing number of vendors who will advocate for me and my events. 

There are many other ways to get vendors, but there is one way I do not recommend, and this NOT going to make me popular by saying it.

Do not go to another event and hand out your cards, flyers and registration forms to get vendors for your show. It Is tacky and it is lazy. Feedback from the vendors is that they are distrustful of the person who does this and it makes them uncomfortable and potential lost sales because of it.

If you are going to do this, I recommend stepping up and introducing yourself to the organizer to get their blessing. At least they will know what you are up to, but if they say no, please honor their wishes, because no, not all coordinators find their vendors that way.

I realize this stance will make me unpopular in the organizing community, but for the love of Pete, please don’t be this organizer. Vendors talk. They share the good, bad and ugly. Let’s stay on the good.

Enjoy the journey every step of the way

There are some people who appear to be naturals at network marketing. They make it look effortless. They amass a huge team in a few months, climb to the top of the leader boards, appear to get eight hours of sleep and look flawless in photos. And we sit back and wonder why the same doesn’t happen for us.

Here are some things you need to know. Theodore Roosevelt said it best: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Your journey is not their journey. By comparing yourself to the top leaders in your business, it can leave you feeling frustrated and stressed and wondering why you are not making the same strides in your business. These tips will help you when you start to question yourself and whether this industry is for you.

1. They were once where you are. They were newbies too and made the same mistakes you did. They just recovered from them and kept going. Practice makes perfect. Don’t let your challenges be an excuse to quit. Your journey is not the same as theirs. It doesn’t pay to compare your journey to theirs.

2. They took time to learn. Personal development is a big deal. The more you know yourself, the better you are at knowing others. Trust me on this. My business got bigger when I started embracing personal development rather than resisting it. It is something everyone can use and all of the big leaders do it. If it is good for them, it is good for you.

3. They aren’t afraid of the word no. Many have been told no hundreds, if not thousands, of times and they still keep pursuing their dreams because they know it is their path in life.

4. They hate the phone too. I know cell phones are smaller and lighter than ever, but when you don’t want to make that call, your phone feels like it weighs 1000 pounds. Become your own personal strongman (or strong woman) and do it anyway. Pick up that phone. The worst you will hear is no. If you are told no, see #3 and pick up the phone again.

5. People will tell you that you are crazy for doing this, but hell, isn’t that what all the dreamers and visionaries were told? Not everyone will see your vision. Those who don’t can enjoy the 40-40-40 plan. Besides, we need those people to keep the rest of the world running.

6. They took the time to learn from others outside of their company. There are amazing trainers and coaches out there that will help you build your business.

7. They stress you should Network, network, network…..not every person you meet will be s sale or a referral, but you may end up with some pretty awesome new friends and that is pretty great too!

You can do it, I believe in you!

5 Times it’s okay to use your cell phone during a vendor event

This is a bit of a controversial topic. Every organizer has likely told you to put your cell phone away during an event so as not to deter the shoppers from your booth. It’s just good event etiquette to keep the phone usage to a minimum, but there are times that your cell phone can benefit your business. These are the top 5 times you should use your phone during a vendor event.  No, I don’t mean it’s time to start checking email, answer your team members questions, or decide now is a great time update your Facebook profile. All of that can wait until after the event, but here are the 5 times you should use your cell phone during a vendor event.

GET YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ON.

  • Check Into the event on Facebook.
  • Post a photo of your display and share your special on the Facebook Event. People will be interested to see who is attending the show.
  • Make a separate post to your customers and personal page so that they can find you at the event.
  • Feel free to Tweet, Instagram and utilize all your platforms to help advertise the event.
  • All of this should take less than five minutes.

PERFORM BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS

  • Process Payments
  • Check Inventory
  • Set booking dates for shows
  • Enter orders
  • Sign up a new team member.

Facebook Live Demonstration 

This one is best if you have more than one rep at your booth to handle inquiries from the shoppers at the event. You can show how to do a eye lip combo that will slay, or pair a top with the right accessories or how to properly apply a Jamberry nail. This is something that can generate excitement and interest in person and online. This is an added bonus for team training, as it shows your team how easy it is to work a vendor event.

Collect Testimonials

Now is the time to get photos of people using your product to share with your customers and team (with the person’s permission, of course). Take a quick second to get a video testimonial or snap a picture with you and the customer, to put a unique spin on your brand. Make sure you put in the proper watermark before posting so that people know it’s yours.

Networking

It pays to get to know the other reps at the event for networking purposes, but who wants to convert all that information from the business card into their phone contact list? Nobody enjoys data entry work. It is the least favorite part of the business, but it’s a must. Save yourself some time and download one of amazing apps available that will let you snap a picture of a business card and then enters all their contact information straight into your phone. Add a few notes as to how you met and you’ll be able to reach out to that rep with a reminder of how you met.

Enjoy!

The Ultimate Vendor Event Checklist

How many times have you gotten to an event and realize you’ve forgotten something? Sometimes, it’s something trivial, like scotch tape and sometimes, it’s your product! I’ve been there. Imagine being at an event, two hours away, and you have everything, but the thing you need most. I created the ultimate vendor event checklist so that you can make sure you have everything you need to make it a spectacular event.

PACKING THE CAR

  • Printed directions – just in case the GPS doesn’t work, or sends you in the wrong direction. Been there.
  •  Charged cell phone and charger.
  • Dolly / Cart to move product.
  • Tubs / Containers for product storage.
  • Money for parking and tolls.

DISPLAY ITEMS

  • Table
  • Chair
  • Table Covering – Linens and Skirting
  • Boxes, Crates or Shelving for height.
  • Signs and Banners
  • Canopy Tent – Walls, Weights, Stakes, Tools, Tarp and Clamps
  • Decorations – Flowers, Lights, Mirrors, etc
  • Pop Up Changing Tent
  • Display Racks / Clothing Racks

BUSINESS ITEMS

  • Business Identification – Business License, Tax ID, Food License
  • Bags
  • Business Cards
  • Calculator
  • Calendar
  • Cash Box with bills and change
  • Catalogs
  • Company Polo / T-shirt – branding is important
  • Counterfeit bill checking pen
  • Credit Card Reader
  • Door Prize Drawing Slips
  • Extension Cord
  • Fliers of monthly specials
  • Hostess & New Member Kits
  • Inventory & Price List
  • Name tags
  • Laptop – Backup Battery & Charging Cord
  • Order Forms
  • Pens
  • Power Strip
  • Product!!!!!
  • Samples!!!!

SUPPLY KIT

I’m slightly obsessed with office supplies, so this is a big list.

  • Name Tags (blank ones)
  • Note Pads
  • Pens, Pencils, Highlighters & Sharpies
  • Post Its
  • Paper Clips
  • Paper Towels
  • Safety Pins
  • Scissors
  • Stapler & Staples
  • Tape – Clear, Duct, Masking & Packing
  • Tape Measure
  • Trash Bags
  • Velcro
  • Zip Ties

PERSONAL ITEMS

You never know what may happen at an event, so it’s always good to be prepared.

  • ID – Driver’s License, Debit Cards, Personal Cash & Checks
  • Medical ID info and In Case of Emergency Contact Info
  • Cell Phone
  • Cell Phone Charger & Cord
  • Back up shirt and clothes
  • Back up shoes
  • Bug Spray
  • Drinks & Snacks
  • Feminine Products
  • First Aid Kit
  • Gloves / Fingerless Gloves
  • Hat
  • Hair ties, Brushes, Hairspray
  • Headache, Cold Meds, Prescriptions
  • Jacket
  • Lint Roller
  • Lotion
  • Makeup
  • Personal Fan
  • Stan Stick
  • Sunglasses or Prescription Glasses
  • Sweater
  • Sunscreen
  • Tissues
  • Umbrella
  • Water Bottle
  • Wet Wipes

Bonus! I’ve created this list as a FREE printable for you so that you can print this out and take it with you to all of your events!

Click the link below to get your own copy.

10 Places to Find Vendor Events Near You

There always comes a point in your business when you need to expand outside of your warm market. That can be difficult if you do not know many people in your area. Participating in a vendor event is a great way to build relationships with new customers in a non-pressure environment. This always comes back to the same question – How do I find vendor events? Here is a list of ten places where you can easily find vendor events in your are.

WHERE TO FIND VENDOR EVENTS….

GO ONLINE

There are tons of websites that have lists of events in your area. Some are free and some are paid.  These are my four favorite sites.

  • Eventlister.com
  • Eventbrite.com
  • Fairsandfestivals.net
  • Craigslist

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OR CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

These two organizations are the ones that have their fingers on the pulse of what is happening in the city. They are frequently advised on events happening in the local parks, churches, businesses, and where the best fundraisers and events are happening. These organizations all have Facebook pages and websites as well.

FACEBOOK GROUPS

There are more Facebook Groups than you have the time to read through. I have found hundreds of groups by posting (for example) direct sales Wisconsin in the search bar. Each group will have a different way of sharing shows. There are bound to be a dozen or so that you can rely on to be kept in the know in regard to good events in the area.

NEWSPAPER

Believe it or not, the newspaper is still a great place to look for events. Now, the caveat to this is that it is a great place to find events with short notice. Most organizers advertise for events one to two weeks before a show. You run the risk of finding out the events are full most times, but there are always incidents where someone backs out at the last minute and a space may come available.

COMMUNITY CALENDARS – RADIO & TV STATIONS

It pays to listen to terrestrial radio and watch TV sometimes. There are a ton of local organizations that do fundraising events or host events for various reasons. Radio and TV stations usually have a segment where they tell you what is happening locally. If these are also posted on a community calendar on their website, you can search for events a few months out.

LOCAL NETWORKING GROUPS

It pays to know others in your community. There are a ton of networking groups that will help you get your business name out and find out where the good vendor events are. Take the time to make a commitment to join one of the groups and stick with it for six months. To get good information, you have to take the time to build relationships. Once they know you, they will push you in the direction of the good events and tell you which ones to steer clear of.

GO TO VENDOR EVENTS AND SHOP

Even if your company is already booked at an event by another rep, take the time to go to the event anyway. Not only do you get to see how the event is going in person, It is an amazing networking opportunity. Talk to the vendors and ask them questions about the event. Bonus points if you take a moment to locate the event organizer and introduce yourself and provide them with a business card. Now that they know you and have an easy way to contact you, it’s a good bet you’ll be hearing from them if they have a last-minute cancellation.

SCHOOLS, CHURCHES, HOTELS & EVENT VENUES

These places are always hosting events, so if you call and ask if there are any craft and vendor events being hosted there, they will be happy to pass along your contact information to the organizers or point you in the direction of how to get in touch with them.

GROCERY STORES & LOCAL SHOPS

There are always bulletin boards for the grocery stores and local shops where fliers are posted. Make a point to take a quick look at them each time you stop in to see what kind of opportunities there are to show off their product.

Look here!

We will be adding an events calendar here soon! This will be a great place to find vendor events.

BONUS INFO

Host your own! If you have exhausted all options and are still struggling to find an event to participate in, you have an option to host your own event! Get in touch with some of the people you have been networking with and coordinate something on your own! It can lead to some amazing opportunities!

MY STORY: HOW I GOT STARTED IN VENDOR EVENT PLANNING…

I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. Once I fell into the world of direct sales, I was hooked. I knew it was the industry for me, but I knew that there was a way for me to impact the local direct sales industry by doing more than hosting parties. This is my story of how I started a business in vendor event planning.

Organizing vendor events on my own started as a dare. I was new to direct sales and struggling to get my warm market to host a party for me, so I needed to get myself out of my social circle to meet new people. Let me tell you, as an introvert, this can be incredibly difficult, but I kept trying because I knew that I loved this industry and my gut told me that I was meant to build a career within it.

I discovered some local craft shows and applied, waiting every day for the letter to come in the mail that I was approved (yes, actual snail mail…..) for the show. What I got was a lot of rejections because of my “mass produced crap” and being told “You direct sales people are the Devil. You people are ruining the crafting industry.” (actual quotes) Let’s just say, these were the pre-Etsy and pre-Pinterest days. Heck, I am not even sure Facebook was a thing at that point. Anywho…..I started making contacts with local reps….thanks, Yahoo Groups!

Then it happened. I was accepted into my first event! I went, excited to show off my products and meet a bunch of new customers, hostesses and team mates. I sold 1 item for $3 and met a bunch of people. That three-dollar sale and new connections were the sign I needed to know that I loved events. I started applying to more events and booking more dates. This became fun!

After some great shows, disaster hit. Worst show ever. Nobody showed up because we were in a hotel basement with multiple rooms. I was crammed in a room with bad lighting and four other vendors who brought all of their inventory with them and we were all jockeying for space.

I was telling a friend how bad it was and her response was “Well, if you think you can do better, go and do it!” Thanks Cindi!  I will always be grateful for your straightforward advice!

That was the beginning of what is now Events by Stacy. In 2003, I organized my first vendor event. I was terrified, but soon discovered that organizing them was even more fun than being a vendor! I have learned so much over the past 13 year as well as gained an amazing amount of knowledge about the industry, developed new skills and made some lifelong friends – including ones I haven’t met in person yet! It has become so much more than a hobby. Earlier this year, I turned it into an actual business and have plans for expanding into some awesome areas of direct sales, MLM and vendor events and I cannot wait to share it with you!