by Viviana Puello
If you are an artist or collector looking for ways to ensure that your next trade show or art fair is a success, then you have come to the right place. The following tips will help ensure that you get the most product sales out of any art fair or trade show, regardless of whether it is your first time or not. The tips here will help you before, during and after your fair or show.
This is always the first stage for ensuring that you will have success in any area of life, and trade shows are no different.
1. Research – Do thorough and detailed research on the upcoming trade show/art fair in which you will participate. Look at the relevant information from the trade fair’s website, social media pages and brochures. This will let you know who will be attending the event, such as company representatives, which will enable you to prepare the right advertising material (brochures, fliers, business cards, etc.). This information will let you know your target clientele and how best to prepare for each of them.
2. Network – Many people attend trade shows, and they aren’t limited to collectors, agents and buyers. Interestingly, there are many exhibitors who are interested in connecting with like-minded people so as to share their valuable experiences and ideas. This may help you get contacts for prospective buyers (including company reps), which will allow you to send them vital information about your brand or product and where you will be located.
3. Location – Prime locations in most art fairs/trade shows involve extra charges. You may want to look early, as they tend to sell fast. This will ensure that you don’t land in a “dead spot.” If possible, you may want to have your booth located near a big corporation, which attracts traffic. If you are planning to attend the trade show on a long-term basis (annually), this is something to consider when negotiating your contract so as to be guaranteed the best location every year.
4. Sample Preparation – Ensure that you have enough “free samples” ready to avoid embarrassment. Also make sure that you have enough advertising material (brochures, fliers, business cards, etc.).
During the event
1. Booth Design – Use brightly colored banners, as people tend to respond to color. Arrange your products in a strategic manner that won’t overcrowd your booth and will allow for easy product viewing. You can use balloons or other items (e.g., confections) that will attract kids, as they will bring their parents along.
2. Categorize Products – Organize your products according to free samples, special discount items, bestsellers and new items. Use different brightly colored displays for each category. This will help potential buyers make up their minds quickly. Be sure to attach relevant information to each product or free sample you give out.
3. Contests & Promotions – People love winning prizes. Organize easy and fun contests and promotion giveaways that aren’t time-consuming. Ensure that attendees fill out contact forms or questionnaires as a requirement for entering the contest.
4. Good HR & PR – If you have booth attendants, make sure they are courteous, polite and energetic. Don’t shy away from stepping out of your booth to greet people and invite them to your booth. Ensure that you gather as much information as possible from potential leads.
After the event
1. Rent a Room – Trade shows and art fairs tend to be noisy. People who attend have limited time to view all the booths. It may cost extra, but renting a room near the trade show floor or building may give you the necessary time and privacy to close a deal after the trade show.
2. Sort Leads – Take time to sort your leads according to priority so that you can promptly follow up with those that need immediate attention. Don’t discard “poor leads,” as they may be interested in your artwork/products in the future.
3. Document Conversations – It is difficult to remember every conversation you have with each person. You may want to document conversations in some manner. You can use websites or apps that keep track of your leads.
4. Follow Up – Ensure that your follow-up is customized to suit each prospective lead. Try to be as specific as possible based on information you gathered during your conversation. This will let them know that you remember them and you took the time to reach them. Such gestures will go to show just how dedicated you are.