Tips for a More Successful Show by a Veteran Designer
by Mike Rogers

Tips for a more successful show

1. Have something to sell, and display it in a way that makes it easy to order.

2. Engage prospective buyers. Talk to them - even if they don't talk to you first. Start with something like, "Where are you from? Tell me about your gallery/store."

3. Display your line in coordinated groupings. Haphazard doesn't appeal, it doesn't communicate, and it doesn't sell.

4. Make the line accessible. If it's in the case and someone is looking at it, take it out, put it in that person's hand or drape it on a wrist. Help them on with a necklace and give them a mirror.

5. Don't hesitate! Pull out your clipboard and ask, "How many would you like to start with?"

6. If you don't have a mailing list for the show, buy one and mail to your prospective customers. Mail at least 1000 - 1500. If you can afford it, 2000 - 2500 is better.

7. "Cold call" the most promising stores before the show, and invite them to visit you. You are establishing a connection beforehand. Priceless!

8. Specifically invite customers you know are coming to see you. Have water, candy etc. ready at the booth to make them welcome.

9. Don't shortchange future sales by skimping on space. If you get a shot at a corner booth, jump on it. Need 15 feet, but want to pay for 10? BUY the space. Remember: You cant sell it if you don't have the space to show it properly.

10. Fresh flowers. Spend the money.

11. Just as a hunter must be able to tell an elk from a dairy cow - or the difference between a bird and a lawyer - you must know how to recognize a buyer.

OK, let's start with a list of 'Not Buyers'. These must be avoided at all costs so that you can spend your time on 'Real Buyers".

The NOT BUYER list

(a) Interior designers who want to buy for themselves. TIME WASTERS. They'll spend time in front of your booth chatting and picking out just the right ring while a major buyer walks right by. BAD.

(b) $800 budget, $1,000,000 attitude. Walks over to your case, sniffs at the jewelry and says condescendingly "your diamonds are too shiny", or "It's too conservative", or "Harumph -- it's just not for us". These are to jewelry shows what casual rear-end sniffing is to K-9's. IGNORE THEM. You will never see their check book. They just wan't to build themselves up at your expense. IGNORE.

(c) GOBs (guest of buyer), FOBs (friend of buyer), GOEs (Guest of exhibitor), and FOEs (Friend of Exhibitor). While well meaning, they oftentimes have no sense of show etiquette and will consume space in front of your booth. Don't be shy, if you see a prospective buyer heading in your direction, politely shoo them away explaining that you are here to make a living. "There's a buyer here, you need to go now." SHOO AWAY.

(d) backgrounders These resemble buyers, but simply walk down the aisles looking imperious, neither engaging in conversation, or looking at merchandise. They spent all their money on kaleidoscopes and salt shakers the first day, and now just want to look important. They walk around the show for the remaining three or four days ignoring everything and everyone. PRETEND THEY ARE INVISIBLE


(a) Actually own a business that sells jewelry or work for a real business that sells jewelry.

(b) Have buyers badges on.

(c) Are actively looking at merchandise and asking intelligent questions as they walk down the aisles.

(d) Know what they are doing and who they are. Don't waste their time or yours pontificating on how you can improve your line.

(e) A team of wild horses can't keep away from things that interest them.

(f) Has business cards, and even if they don't have time to look, will exchange them with you. Looks forward to a follow up. Exchange cards and FOLLOW UP!

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