Recently, I attended an event where lots of different types of vendors were presenting their items. There was a pillow company who offered custom pillows, a retail company offering their wares, a nail polish company, and even Origami Owl®. Something was very unsettling for me in about 50% of the booths and I want to share with you my experience and tips, so this doesn’t happen to your customers.
Customers can purchase and choose to spend their money with anyone, right? Think about your most recent experiences in a store you frequent. Were you acknowledged, were you greeted and did anyone seem to care you were patronizing the establishment? Speaking from my own experience, when I enter into a department store, drug store, grocery store and even a convenient store….someone says “Hello”. It’s very infrequent that someone doesn’t take notice of my presence. Sure this notice may have a little to do with theft deterrent, but a lot to do with good old CUSTOMER SERVICE. I can spend my money anywhere and in order for that person who greeted me to have a job, they need to do their job. So, ask yourself, why is your job as an independent business owner any different?
It’s not!!! If you are in direct sales, like I am, my business is my livelihood and there are thousands of other representatives who’d love to have my customers purchase from them. If I don’t care for my customers, someone else will….right? RIGHT!
I was honestly super surprised by how few vendors even looked me in the eye, tried to engage with me, or even said hello. I intentionally stood at a couple of booths to see what the vendor would do….just so I could write this article. I stood looking over the items sold by 2 direct sales companies, for about 10 minutes, and not one person said a word to me…pretty disappointing and goodness, how many others experienced this and the vendor lost the opportunity to make a sale.
A few vendors were on their phones, cruising Facebook®. Oh my goodness….please put the devices down! A vendor event is not the time or place for scrolling through social media or texting friends. Nothing on your device is that important it can’t wait till later and if it is important, be sure to tell your family to call you if there is an urgent matter. Think about how you feel if you go out to lunch with a friend and she’s on her phone the whole time. You feel like you don’t matter and may not meet her for lunch again. That’s how your prospective customers feel…unimportant, unappreciated, and why the heck should they buy from someone who doesn’t think they are important.
I train my team to not only smile at every person who makes eye contact, but interrupt every person walking by their booth, by saying hello. Not only should they say hello, but be in front of the booth and invite every single person to see what they have to offer. A simple “Hello, have you seen Origami Owl” or “Hello, I see you are wearing a locket, do you know about our new product launch” and the moment they start to walk toward you, start talking to them…not talking at them, there is a huge difference! Simple questions like “Are you enjoying the venue” or “I love the hat you are wearing, did you get it here”. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS!! This is your J.O.B., to BUILD RELATIONSHIPS.
People like to feel valued and important, they like to be acknowledged and appreciated, so it’s your job to create that experience for them. Each time you create a memorable experience, you increase your chances for repeat business and referrals.
Lastly, if you are running a booth with more than one consultant, be sure to have one person behind the table and one person in front of the table so you never miss an opportunity to say hello!