There always comes a point in your business when you need to expand outside of your warm market. That can be difficult if you do not know many people in your area. Participating in a vendor event is a great way to build relationships with new customers in a non-pressure environment. This always comes back to the same question – How do I find vendor events? Here is a list of ten places where you can easily find vendor events in your are.
Where to find vendor events….
There are tons of websites that have lists of events in your area. Some are free and some are paid. These are my four favorite sites.
Chamber of Commerce or Convention & Visitors Bureau
These two organizations are the ones that have their fingers on the pulse of what is happening in the city. They are frequently advised on events happening in the local parks, churches, businesses, and where the best fundraisers and events are happening. These organizations all have Facebook pages and websites as well.
There are more Facebook Groups than you have the time to read through. I have found hundreds of groups by posting (for example) direct sales Wisconsin in the search bar. Each group will have a different way of sharing shows. There are bound to be a dozen or so that you can rely on to be kept in the know in regard to good events in the area.
Believe it or not, the newspaper is still a great place to look for events. Now, the caveat to this is that it is a great place to find events with short notice. Most organizers advertise for events one to two weeks before a show. You run the risk of finding out the events are full most times, but there are always incidents where someone backs out at the last minute and a space may come available.
Community Calendars – Radio & TV Stations
It pays to listen to terrestrial radio and watch TV sometimes. There are a ton of local organizations that do fundraising events or host events for various reasons. Radio and TV stations usually have a segment where they tell you what is happening locally. If these are also posted on a community calendar on their website, you can search for events a few months out.
Local Networking Groups
It pays to know others in your community. There are a ton of networking groups that will help you get your business name out and find out where the good vendor events are. Take the time to make a commitment to join one of the groups and stick with it for six months. To get good information, you have to take the time to build relationships. Once they know you, they will push you in the direction of the good events and tell you which ones to steer clear of.
Go to Vendor Events and Shop
Even if your company is already booked at an event by another rep, take the time to go to the event anyway. Not only do you get to see how the event is going in person, It is an amazing networking opportunity. Talk to the vendors and ask them questions about the event. Bonus points if you take a moment to locate the event organizer and introduce yourself and provide them with a business card. Now that they know you and have an easy way to contact you, it’s a good bet you’ll be hearing from them if they have a last-minute cancellation.
Schools, Churches, Hotels & Event Venues
These places are always hosting events, so if you call and ask if there are any craft and vendor events being hosted there, they will be happy to pass along your contact information to the organizers or point you in the direction of how to get in touch with them.
Grocery Stores & Local Shops
There are always bulletin boards for the grocery stores and local shops where fliers are posted. Make a point to take a quick look at them each time you stop in to see what kind of opportunities there are to show off their product.
We will be adding an events calendar here soon! This will be a great place to find vendor events.
Host your own! If you have exhausted all options and are still struggling to find an event to participate in, you have an option to host your own event! Get in touch with some of the people you have been networking with and coordinate something on your own! It can lead to some amazing opportunities!