I am often asked how to tell which vendor events will be worth your time to attend.
There are two things you should do to determine if a trade show is a good use of your time and money before signing up:
- Visit theevent as a guest and check it out for yourself. Often you will be surprised to learn that some exhibitions are the perfect venue for you even though you did not initially think so.
- Make a list of questions to ask the exhibit organizer and ask them BEFORE you sign up for a specific event.
Questions To Ask Before Paying
Below are a few ideas to give you a good start on what questions to ask an exhibit organizer before paying for a table:
How many attendees did you have last year?
This is a good question because it will tell you 3 things:
- Is it their first event?
- Whether they had any tracking for past shows?
- How many were in attendance?
What is the demographic of the attendees?
The answer (Moms, seniors, families, etc.) will help you determine whether the customers match your niche.
How are you promoting the event?
If they expect you to promote the event, is that the only promotion? A good event will have MANY answers to this question not just one! (Radio, newspaper, internet, members of a specific group, mailing list, TV, etc.)
What other promotions or perks do the paying vendors receive?
Usually a vendor will get exposure in ways other than the table use such as social media links, program ads, included in news reports, over the loud speaker at the event, listing on the website, etc.
Is there an opportunity to speak or present a workshop to the attendees?
Many events have workshops or education events for the attendees. This could be a one-person presentation or a multiple vendor round table on a niche topic that the event may serve.
Think about what you have to offer in the way of a public speaking value added topic that may interest the event organizer.
Could you please tell me more about the venue?
What is provided? (table, skirt, overlay, electricity, water, wireless internet, etc.)
What size is the table? Booth? Keep in mind that most venues have limited electricity and it is not in all booths so if you require it, then you must reserve it!
Tell me about the vendors that usually sign up with you, please…
How many vendors will there be in total?
Are you going to have duplicate vendors (more than one of a product type or industry)?
What about duplicate direct sellers in the same company?
The last thing you want is another MyFantasticCompany distributor on the other side of the room!
Who will be in the booth right next to me?
If you sell Avon you certainly don’t want a Mary Kay lady right next door and yet that often happens as organizers frequently place all direct sellers in the same vicinity!
Taking the opposite look at that question, would a romance distributor be comfortable with the local church ladies right next door?
If it is not a business or public event then say something like “tell me about your school/group/charity…”
How many members in your group? How many active members do you usually have involved?
If the event is multiple-day then it is always good to ask about the night time security.
Are you required to have insurance is another question to ask but personally I prefer not to ask…
A better approach is to scan the rules before signing to see if there is any mention of insurance. Sometimes in a smaller private event if you bring it up first then they think it is a good idea and add it to the requirements.
This list of trade show questions to ask BEFORE signing up covers the basics but you may have specific needs that can be added to the list!