If you are an independent sales rep, you probably know the importance of attending a trade show. Not only does a trade show help an independent sales rep to find prospective customers, they are a great place for building relationships. Unlike offices, a trade shows has an open atmosphere as they are designed to promote products and gain more business.
Here is how to make the most of your opportunity at a trade show:
First, although it should go without saying, be sure to divide your time carefully between the booths of your various vendors. You should also discuss your commission in advance with the vendor for the orders that you write during your time spent in the booth, as the vendor may have a different expectation from your normal commission rates.
Do not spend all your time in the vendor booths writing orders. Wander around the booths and do your best to make new connections with other prospective vendors. Be sure to carry a copy of your line card so that you can pass it on when needed. A note of caution here, don’t jump into any offers for sales that you may receive. Do a little due diligence to check potential new vendors out before you commit.
If you can, it is a good idea to have a booth of your own where you can display all the products that you represent. Having your own booth allows you to make use of advertising that may attract other potential vendors to you. To gain the attention of customers and potential vendors, try to make your booth stand out from others. Make it look inviting, and keep it open for people to walk in. Plan ahead so as not to run out of business cards or brochures.
After the trade show ends, your next job begins. It is time now to make timely calls those you met at the trade show and continue building your relationships. Trust is a critical factor in business, which can only be helped with effective communications. Begin to build trust while your memories of those you met are freshest.
Finally take note that there are companies who bring out products in a trade show that are not a part of their regular production. Customers may be impressed with the product and may even order it, only to become disappointed if the delivery takes too long. Along with the company, you too lose a customer. However, these situations can be avoided by being aware of any special restrictions or limitations with the trade show merchandise.