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Novice vender needs help


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I am going to have a vending table at the Las Vegas Nationals this year and have never done any kind of vending at all.  I'm wondering if anyone could give me an idea of what to expect, what I might need, and any other tips that you think might be helpful to a rank amateur.  Many thanks!

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  I say "busy" is a good guess for a "normal" year, this year.... I'm thinking extremely busy and crowded.     I would recommend having all stuff organized and your prices marked "CLEARLY".  Having an assistant to cover your "human needs", you don't want to leave your table unattended. Also an assistant that knows how much you are willing to  "adjust your prices", people will ask.( I've been told I'm cheap, But that's my wife's opinion)

If you think you will have time to go look at the models, have an assistant.  Expect to meet many new friends. Be able to talk and do business at the same time.   Have fun.

I look forward to see if you have something I don't really need but I just "might need it someday for that project that I don't have time to ever do".

I will see you there and good luck.

Dave

Plastic model opener Extraordinaire

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David brings up some excellent and important points. Definitely have clearly marked prices on the merchandise. One assistant is almost mandatory, having a second one also helps reduce the pressure, especially on a show that is expected to be super busy. Once again, those assistants should be knowledgeable about any price adjustments you'll allow.

 

On other thing; if it is allowed, bring in some water and or snacks to munch on in the event it is too busy to get out and get lunch. Especially the water and/or other drinks to help cut dry throat from all the talking and negotiating you'll be doing.

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Take enough sheets to completely cover your tables when you shut down.

50% discounts for those of us giving you sage advice here......:smiley2:

You're going to have a lot of FUN seeing and meeting so many people, but don't be surprised to find out how CHEAP we IPMSers truly are.....you'll get tired of answering "how low will you go on this"....

Some really good tips listed above....and I'm sure more will follow. Best of luck!

 

Gil :cool:

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Bring a collection of used plastic shopping bags--if people buy multiple kits from you, it is a nice touch for to offer them a bag in which they can tote their newly acquired booty around.  Start saving your grocery bags now...

Cheers!
Ralph

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I agree about having enough cash to make change; that is extremely important! The shopping bags is also a huge bonus for us buyers, especially if multiple kits are bought from your table.

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Thank you all so very much for the vendor tips!  Very much appreciated!  I'm wondering also, what other options besides cash that would work for accepting payment?

TIA

Bill

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For a one-time or occasional vendor, cash makes the most sense.  Credit card services such as Square charge service fees, which usually make them inconvenient for all but established businesses.

Ralph

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To summarize, make sure you bring:

 

1. Change for cash purchases

2. Tablecloth (or two - one to put your items on, and the all-important other one to cover up your stuff at night. 

3. Comfortable shoes

4. Clearly-marked prices - the volume of traffic can be so great you may miss a sale while explaining prices to another customer. 

5. Plastic bags, as a courtesy (and don't feel bad when you run out!).

6. Pen and a notebook - you will almost always find a use for them. 

7. Signage, if you need it.

 

Other advice:

1. Get to know your fellow vendors. They can watch your stuff when you need a bathroom break, when you need lunch, or when you want to do your own shopping. You have to return the favor, though - so don't disappear into the display room for six hours or you'll spoil any good will. (Also - if you have a friend who can babysit the table - and knows a little about the prices and products - that person can be invaluable. )

2. When you're at the table, stand up - it puts you at eye level with the shoppers - and say hi to people. Too many of us sit and ignore customers, or stand silent and stone-faced (or worse, with your arms folded across your chest). If you engage with people they'll stop, spend an extra second or two looking at your stuff and then maybe buy from you. I would guess I make an extra $600 per show just because I greet everybody I can. Also - don't be afraid to take breaks in conversations to help newcomers to your table. Trade shows in general are one place where it's OK to excuse yourself from a conversation and come back, if possible, once you've helped a customer. 

Finally, I've been selling at the nationals since 1998, and I still forget some part of my checklist every year (mostly because I often complicate it with on-site packaging of product or something else specific to my business). Don't worry! You will be able to adapt and overcome, with help from your friends and fellow modelers. 

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Once again, many thanks to all of you for the very helpful advice.  Hope to see you at the Nationals by the 'Stewart Enterprises" table!

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