Yesterday I went on the annual trip to the Spring Fair International at the NEC in search of inspiration for things to stock at Littlesheep Learning, to meet potential and existing suppliers and to place orders for new stock.
Here is a little video clip for you…
I saw lots and lots of really interesting toys and games that could be stocked – now I need to sit and go through all the catalogues and price lists to make my selections.
It was very interesting to see how different companies interacted with their potential customers, but given that they were supposedly there to get themselves business I think these impressions count and are really important – the balance between pushy and not-interested may be tricky. I do like being asked if I can be helped, being asked about my business and what sort of things I’d be interested in and being offered a catalogue. I don’t like being ignored and having to seek out the company representative to ask for more information.
It’s probably not fair to rate them but well lets just say that some companies managed it better than others! Top marks must go to the man on the Priddy Books stand as he recognised me from the Autumn Fair and remembered where I was based – I hope to be stocking some of their books soon – watch this space…
So if you are exhibiting at a fair here are my suggestions:
- remember your previous customers (or be a very good actor so they think you remember them!)
- find out what your customers are interested in stocking and don’t show them totally inappropriate parts of your range (it wastes your time and theirs)
- know your products – be able to demonstrate them but also talk about how you played with these toys with children and how you tweaked it / adapted it / what you felt they learnt from it etc (if you don’t have any of your own then borrow some so that you can know your products through the experience of actually playing them)
- if you have show offers then tell people about them they might be tempted to place an order if they know they’ll get a discount / reduced minimum order / free carriage or similar
- freebies are good – I got a disappointing haul compared to previous years – only a Batman mask and a small packet of Haribo…
It was a busy and tiring day with mixed experiences but overall successful. I’ve placed some orders so look out for some of the out of stock things being back in stock soon and I’ve sourced some potential new lines for orders over the coming months.
Oh and on my way to the Usborne stand which for some reason was in Hall 5 and not Hall 3 with the other children’s toys and gifts – I saw the Queen (well the Littlesheep boys were convinced!).