Monday, October 29, 2007

Make the call or do the show?

A received a message from Leah, who attended my presentation at Indigo’s Entrepreneur Series. (She even made a sudden detour on the subway to attend at the last minute! Thank you, Leah!) With a mompreneur friend, Leah has started a line of infant and toddler clothing named Belly Babies. She says, “Happily, the response so far has been great and we are interested at this point in trying out a tradeshow. Can you recommend a good trade show, particularly in Toronto or Ontario? Would you say that this route is the best way to get into retailer stores, or would you advise cold calling?"

There are a few considerations on both sides to weigh before making this decision.

  1. Tradeshows will expose you to dozens, if not hundreds, of potential buyers. A great opportunity to make a number of sales in a short period of time.
  2. Tradeshows will put you right next door to dozens of potential competitors. Buyers are often busy and rushed and it can be difficult to keep their attention.
  3. Tradeshows can have a high price tag with money going to booth space, displays and furniture, electrical, printed materials, and more, not to mention the time and effort involved in preparing for a tradeshow.
  4. Calling on accounts gives you a quiet opportunity to discuss your product one-on-one. This can be a time-consuming process. I recommend that you start with the retailers in your local area. Speaking one-on-one with retail buyers can be a great learning experience and something you may want to do before jumping into an expensive tradeshow.

Whichever you choose, and your answer may be both, be prepared. Have your pitch, product samples, price list, and order form ready to make the sale.

The tradeshows that I have had the best experiences with in Ontario are the CGTA and the Toronto International Gift Fair.

Happy selling!

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