I participated in another expo on Saturday. So, of course, I have a new list of things not to do.
Don’t bad-mouth someone else’s company. A vendor with another direct sales company stopped by my booth. She had a family member who was involved with my same company many years ago. Now, I would expect her to like her business better than any other business. I know I think mine is the best. However, there’s a difference between voicing what you appreciate about your business and criticizing someone else’s. For instance, in my business I am not required to carry any inventory. I love that. It makes my life much easier. What I would never do is walk up to a representative from a company that does require someone to carry inventory and say, “It really sucks that you have to buy a bunch of stuff just in case someone wants that particular product. I mean, I can’t imagine having to buy a lot of stuff, store all of it, and keep track of everything. That would be my nightmare.” Think about what you’re saying. Alienating other vendors is a really bad idea.
Don’t spam other vendors. I know spamming usually refers to email, but indiscriminately handing out your card to others without asking if they are interested has a similar feel. One vendor actually walked around the room tossing business card magnets on each vendor’s table saying, “Magnet.” Seriously. Not, “Would you like a magnet?” Not, “Here’s a handy magnet for you.” Just, “Magnet.” She didn’t even pause at the tables. From the middle of the aisle she tossed one on each table. First of all, that’s a complete waste of resources, because at least some of the vendors will not be at all interested in what you have to offer. Secondly, it’s just plain rude.
On the flip side, don’t neglect to engage other vendors. Set up as early as possible, and then take the time to visit every single vendor, asking each about his or her products. You might not be interested, but it does give you the information in case that would help a friend or customer. Also, it’s a great way to get ideas for booth set-up, displays, and such. This is not an opportunity to push your business, though you might want to have some business cards in hand in case they ask. It’s about getting to know the other vendors. Plus, you’ll be seen as the helpful vendor if you’re able to tell someone where a particular booth is located.
Every fair or expo is an opportunity to get your name out there. It’s also an opportunity to learn from others.