Leading up to a client’s tradeshow, it can become stressful fielding all the vendor requests. The line of communication between vendor and trade association is an extremely important task to ensure your sponsors have a pleasant experience. The most important thing I’ve learned thus far in sponsorship sales is you can’t make everyone happy.
With that being said, there are several ways to manage an unhappy vendor, maintain your long-term sponsors, and carry out a successful show
#1 Be truthful – If you are having issues with certain opportunities on the prospectus or you don’t know the answer to certain questions, make sure you tell your vendors and the association, so these issues are ironed out before mistakes are made. It’s better to ask questions and take your time, than to make costly mistakes
#2 Understand these companies are paying you to be at your show – Sometimes it can be frustrating when vendors argue with you or call you out on certain issues, but it’s imperative to remember these folks are paying you to reach your members. They are extremely valuable to your organization and should be treated as such. Listen and ensure all issues are resolved.
#3 Don’t get down on yourself when you are criticized – There are times when companies will be left out, will disagree with your methods, or tell you they will not be back next year. Don’t panic or get defensive. Document exactly what pushed that company away, so it can be remedied for the following year. You’d be surprised how many companies appreciate your efforts to accommodate their needs.
When you feel like you aren’t on top of your game or your vendors are not happy, remember that there is always a way to fix the problem. You can’t make everyone happy, but these three strategies will help you manage your vendors in a way that’s beneficial for everyone.
If you have any questions about client and vendor relations, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.