I will keep better track of my blog. I will keep better track of my blog. I will keep better track of my blog. Maybe I can manifest more good blog posts if I just keep repeating that mantra.
So, it’s been another month, and November has been kind to me. My girls are still going strong, making sales, and placing orders, which I’m completely thrilled about. I’m not shy about sharing how destructive MLMs can be if you sign up with a pyramid-building mentor who pressures you to buybuybuy, and I really pride myself in offering legitimate support and sound advice to my downline. I don’t want any of them biting off more than they can chew. All my girls are pacing themselves and experiencing success, and that makes me happier than I can say.
My personal sales for November have been the highest they’ve been since just after my initial launch in June. July was my biggest month to date, but November is a close second. One of the reasons for this is a big vendor event I participated in a couple of weekends ago, which was my first as a LipSense vendor. I learned a lot from that event, and I want to share some of that insight before I forget it all!
Vendor Event Tips and Tricks
- Practice your setup. Back in my Mary Kay days, I did a couple of horribly unsuccessful vendor events (like, barely made back my money on the booth terrible). Both times, I showed up to the event with all my stock, a table cover, and a dream. Although that’s ultimately not the reason why those events were unsuccessful, it did cause me a lot of unnecessary headache. Since I knew this was going to be a big vendor event (it was the 35th anniversary of the show), I pulled out a folding table from the basement and practiced my table set up. This helped me see what elements I was missing and made organizing my table in the midst of all the event chaos super simple.
- Have a pitch. This is something I didn’t do for this event, and I really wish I would have thought about it. The woman at the table across from mine, a Paparrazi vendor, had her pitch nailed. Every time a new wave of foot traffic appeared, she would reiterate, “Everything on the table is just $5, and necklaces come with a free pair of earrings!” It was short, simple, and to the point. It gave her something to say as people idled past and it caused a lot more people to stop and take a look at her stock. Meanwhile, I fumbled around with “how are you doing,” “did you see any crafts upstairs that caught your eye,” and “I’ve got a giveaway drawing going on today, enter here!” Not good.
- Bring inventory. You don’t have to have everything on hand, but you should have as much inventory as possible with you since people don’t want to place preorders when they’re standing right there in front of you. Especially since LipSense is a more “high end” beauty product and customers can easily drop $50-100 on just a handful of products, you really don’t want to try to ask someone to fork out cash for something that will come eventually. My booth was right next to an Usborne books vendor who made an absolute killing at the event because she had crates of books available to customers. Not only did the brightly colored books and toys catch the attention of passers-by (and their kiddos), but she had set up a mini storefront at the event, with even more stock under the tables. I didn’t see her have to place a single order the whole day; everyone was able to pay for something they saw and liked on the spot.
- Focus on networking. It’s tempting to get sales-focused during a vendor event, since it’s a rare opportunity for face-time with customers and to get them to order a product right then and there. But vendor events are more about networking opportunties than sales, and I wish I had focused more on that during this event. I was so focused on making sales quickly and efficiently (and I made plenty!) that I didn’t even remember to write down all the information for the customers I had, like email or shipping addresses! Rookie mistake. Thankfully, I had at least had the presence of mind to ask those who purchased from me to enter my giveaway, so I managed to scrape together the basics for my Square system — like name, email, and shipping address — from the information on my entry forms.
A few booths down from mine was a woman selling DoTerra oils, and she had brought with her nearly no sellable inventory. When I walked around to check out everyone’s wares, she told me that she never makes many sales at vendor events, but really just comes to make connections, chat with people about the oils, and then follow up later. It’s not the worst strategy; she spent the whole day casually talking up customers, getting detailed contact information from dozens of them, and genuinely sharing her enthusiasm for her products with no “ulterior” motive of making a fast sale.
- Introduce yourself to the other vendors. Everyone at the event is there for the same reasons you are — to make sales. For this reason, you might assume the vendors aren’t your target audience; they’re trying to make money, not spend it, right? Wrong. Think about it — if you’re at an event with tons of other MLM vendors, you are in a room with potentially dozens of women who have already said “yes!” to direct sales products and systems. They understand your experience better than anyone, and they’re almost always thrilled to support another small business side hustle. Many of them will already be familiar (and possibly addicted to) your products. If at all possible, make some rounds and visit each vendor’s table. Collect their contact information and talk to them about their products; they’ll probably return the favor. I ended up selling a starter kit to the Usborne Books Lady, setting up a lunch date with the DoTerra oils lady, and getting a $100+ sale from the Paparrazi lady’s mother, who showed up to the event to visit with her daughter and instantly fell in love with our products since she’s an everyday lipstick wearer. If I hadn’t been socializing all day with the other vendors, more than $100 of income would almost certainly have slipped through my fingers.
- Bring cash. If you already have a card reader and are used to invoicing online, it’s easy to forget to bring cash for making change. I brought $100 in mixed bills (20’s and smaller, mostly 5s and 1s); I didn’t end up needing it, really, but I’m still glad I had it. The venue had volunteers available to bring the vendors lunch, and I was thankful I had cash to grab a bite and make change once or twice. It’s especially good to have if you don’t plan on accepting personal checks, which I would recommend (since they can bounce and your bank will charge you a fee for it).
- Have video. I didn’t have enough time to play with this option for this event, but at my next one, I definitely plan to have a tablet or laptop with video content streaming — ESPECIALLY demonstrating how to apply LipSense. I already had my lipstick on, of course, and explaining how to apply LipSense to half a dozen customers standing around your table while you make samples for all of them and try to watch that they don’t misuse your testers is a real challenge. Some of the women who tried makeup on did a HORRIBLE job applying it, despite my best efforts to coach them verbally through the process. That will affect your bottom line, since the product won’t look, feel, or wear as well if it’s not used correctly. Most people are visual learners, so next time I have a live event, I plan on having a super short (2 minutes or so) application video at the ready for any customer who wants to put the products on their lips.
For reference, I’m also including the vendor event supplies list I compiled from doing this event:
For the Table
- Table Cover
- Table Banner
- Tester Stand(s) – Colors, Glosses, Oops, ShadowSense/Other product
- Tester Wands
- Tester Wand Display
- Witch Hazel and Cotton Pads (Clean, Dry Lips)
- Hand Sanitizer
- Optional – Droppers and Mixing Cups (for blends/testers)
- Mirror(s) for Applying
- Giveaway Entry Box
- Giveaway Entry Forms
- Price List
- Optional Game – Spin the Wheel? Plinko? (*I didn’t have this for this event, but I wish I had — another level of engagement or a pitch to help draw people to your table!)
- Square/How to Pay Signage
- Look Book
- Business/How to Apply Cards (and Stands)
- Information Booklets
- What is LipSense?
- How to Host.
- How to Join.