Brought To You By

Events and Shows – 10 Tips for Getting the Most from Events

Whatever your niche market, whether custom t-shirts or embroidery or sports, we can guarantee they have a show or live event. The people at those shows are planning to come away with a purchase, whether it’s food, apparel, art, etc. You’re there hoping to earn some business, both at the show and in the future. Here, we’ve put together a list of the top ten things you should do at events to earn more business.


If you are planning to attend a show as a vendor, connect with people before they even go to the show. You can do this in a variety of ways.Some shows will allow you to rent the email list of attendees from the previous event. You then email those past attendees to let them know you’re going to be there.

Other times the organizers might send an email on your behalf. Find out from the organizers if they advertise for the vendors attending the show. If they don’t, you might be the inspiration for them to start. Here’s the question to ask, “What’s the best way for me to connect with people that are attending the show or have attended in the past?”

You might also want to market to your existing mailing list. Let them know you’re going to be there, especially if you sell to a niche market. They might not know the event is happening. If they already do plan on going, doing this will help them find you.

You can create your own Facebook event for the show and get your customers to commit to going – send them an invite. Going back to something we mentioned in our upselling blogs, if you get people to commit publicly to something, they’re more likely to keep that commitment.

Keeping all that in mind, you don’t want to invite your customers to an event that’s full of your competition. If you create custom caps and you look on the vendor list, and there are four other apparel vendors, don’t invite your customers.

It will set you apart from the crowd by setting people up, so they’re familiar with you.

Refining your 30-second pitch

You’ve got 30 seconds before you lose the attention of the person you’re trying to sell to. Have something ready to go – whether you want to talk about a special you’re running, what you specialize in, whatever your unique selling proposition is.

At the show, don’t just to the general pitch. If you’re there to sell the goods you already made, you’re going to want to make it related to what you have with you. “My name is Bob. I’m here today because I specialize in pet clothes and dog apparel and custom t-shirts. I’ve got two things you have to see.”You can also ask them an open-ended question to bring them in.

Find some good buzzwords that will capture attention. For example: “All these custom t-shirts are made from 100% bamboo fiber.” “We donate 10% of every transaction to help homeless pets.”

While planning your pitch, tailor it, so it appeals to a wide variety of people. If you’re in a busy show one of two things will happen.

1. You’ll engage with one person, and everyone else won’t get any attention at all.

2. You’ll not engage with anyone at all because your pitch is geared towards one type of person.

Make connections

This could be the most profitable thing you could do at the show. For many people, it’s the only reason to go to a show.Using the example of a farmer’s market, there are 30-40 successful business owners.

All of them should be wearing custom apparel to that event. However, most of them are not. If you have one of these local events, you should go just to sell, even if you don’t have a booth.You come with your best version of your custom apparel.

Then go around and introduce yourself to the other vendors.If these are weekly or monthly events, it’s a great opportunity to go back again and re-connect.  There are specific events which cover pricing for embroidery and other topics of interest.

The bigger the show is, the bigger the opportunity it is for you. If you’re at a cheer show with 100-150 vendors who all paid $5,000 just to be there, those are prime customers for you. It’s also likely a 2-3 day event. You might be able to talk some of those vendors into working with you to let you outfit them for all of their shows.

You can even get to the show early and sell apparel to those vendors before you even open up your booth. If the venue lets you start setting up at 6 am, then be there right at 6. That way when everyone else is setting up later, you can walk around and introduce yourself.

Also, don’t ignore the event planners and the facility you’re in. You never know where these connections are going to lead you or how much money they could turn into. It could be a month or a year down the road, but it will have an impact on your business.

Get people into your network

Collect emails, get reviews, get followers on social media, and find ways to collect people into your network. You cannot leave the burden of contacting you up to your potential customers.

Handing someone a brochure and a card is okay – it’s a very non-threatening way for you to get your information out there. The real accomplishment is when you can gather than potential customer’s information so you can contact them.In many of our other blog posts – on upselling and marketing – we talk about reaching out to people you’ve connected to in the past about your newest custom t-shirts

This is where it happens. You need to have some way to go from talking to you and buying goods to capturing their email address.You can do that in a variety of ways. It might be a coupon available to anyone who likes you on Facebook. This allows you to remarket to those people. When you post something, you can boost that post – spend $20 – choose to promote to people who’ve liked your page. It lets every see what’s going on in your business.

Collect their email address and do the same thing as above with Facebook. You might offer a coupon in return for their email address or simply have your laptop there to collect their email – letting them know you have some great stuff you’d like to share with them.

If you use a mailing service like MailChimp or Constant Contacts, they have easy ways to collect email addresses right there on the screen.

If you have enough email addresses, over time, you can use those email addresses to market to those people on Facebook.