How to Earn More Sales Through Live Events

With a captive audience looking to spend, live events are an enticing target for distributors. Here are four top examples to seek out.

Car Shows:

Nonprofits, chambers of commerce, volunteer fire departments and local businesses are among the groups that organize community car shows, which typically involve private owners of classic and custom cars parking their rides in an outdoor location for people to peruse. Late spring through early fall is the season for car shows in much of the country. Be sure to contact prospects well in advance.

Catch car show organizers’ attention with T-shirts, can coolers, ball caps, mini tire-gauge keychains and more. Items can be sold to attendees or given as freebies to motorists displaying their cars.

Similar products, along with totes, may appeal to organizers and exhibitors at large-scale professional auto shows, which are public exhibitions of current automobile models, debuts, concept cars or out-of-production classics. Scheduled for February, the Chicago Auto Show is known as the nation’s biggest. Listings for other shows can be found out here.

Product Launches:

When companies debut products, many hold launch events to formally announce the new offering, an undertaking aimed at building buzz and driving sales. Giveaways of branded merchandise are a natural fit for such events.

Sam Minster knows a bit about that. Several years ago, the VP/partner at Jack Nadel International (asi/279600) earned a million-dollar order by providing products like beanies, T-shirts, water bottles and flying discs to help promote a Microsoft Windows product launch. The hard work culminated with a Times Square release event where thousands of people received swag.

While not all product launches are so lucrative for distributors, they certainly can be a source of strong sales. To maximize ROI for clients, start by ensuring you thoroughly understand the company, its brand image and, of course, the product. Just as critical, get a profile on the attendees: Are they media? Retail executives? Investors? Prospective end-users? A combination of these?

Once gathered, use the information to tailor a solution to the client. A surfboard company is launching a new board to an audience of surfing/sports journalists? A hemp tote that contains wayfarer sunglasses, sunscreen, earbuds and a USB with information about the new board and the company’s history/previous innovations would work great.

Ethnic Festivals:

As the saying goes, America is a melting pot of people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. While proud to be American, people also like to celebrate their roots, a fact that’s manifest in the numerous ethnic festivals and parades that abound throughout the country. Knowing that, why not identify festivals in your area and provide products for organizers, vendors and exhibitors?

If targeting organizers, you’ll want to suggest a creative concept for the festival T-shirt of course, but also see if you can expand the sale by suggesting other products that tie in. Flags, commemorative plastic beer steins and mugs, for example, would likely find buyers among attendees of a German heritage festival.

Trade Shows:

It should almost go without saying that trade shows are potential cash cows for distributors. But good things bear repeating, so lest we be remiss: Trade shows represent huge opportunity!

The companies and associations organizing the events often desire lanyards and logoed totes they can fill with branded goodies for attendees. Plus, each exhibitor is a prospect for you, too.

To start scoring more trade show sales, ask every client you don’t currently provide trade show swag for if they participate in such events. If they do, win the business by brainstorming novel product and branding concepts that will help them stand out. For sure, lip balm, pens and keychains are tried-and-true sellers. Still, aim to add something different to the mix, such as hot packs attendees can use on their aching feet and shoulders after walking around carrying sample-stuffed totes all day.

Tips of the Trade

Chris Ruvo offers some additional tips to hosting your next mini-trade show.