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Keep Focused - Your Job is  'Selling'

Being at a show is YOUR JOB. Treat it as such. Your boss wouldn't like you talking to booth buddies/neighbors when you were hired to sell bears. You'd be fired if you read a book while on the job!

Watch your body language, it is more important than what you are saying. Take a genuine interest in your customer. Remember they hear everything, so don't gossip at the table, in the hall, or in the bathroom.

Think of phrases to 'break the ice' with the customers. Write down and memorize opening lines. Practice front of a mirror if you are a little shy. The customers like to feel important, that you care about them, and the bears they buy, but don't get too personal.

Weave stories about your bears. The collectors adore knowing the history behind the bear or what a little rascal he is.

Look Successful

You are about to go to work. What do you look like? Are you well dressed and groomed? Would you hire yourself? Buy a special show outfit, keep it clean and ready to go. When buying the outfit, be sure it is comfortable, wrinkle free, and gives you the ability to shed a layer if the room heats up, or add a layer if your table is positioned under an air-conditioning vent. Seeing dealers standing behind their booths wearing arctic outer apparel doesn't look very professional.

A hair dresser can style your hair to flatter you and highlighting your face. That goes for men too. Don't scare them away with wild fashion statements. Practice using happy facial expressions that attract customers.

Design your booth at home, make a map on how to place the items on the table. Practice setting up and tearing down your display. Packing quickly is often required when showrooms are booked for wedding immediately following the close of a show.

Critique table arrangement. Don't cram every single bear on the table. The customer's eyes need time to search for THAT special bear.

Photograph your table. See how it looks. Is it attractive? Photographing before the opening of each show will remind you of bears you made, sold, or of a bear lost to a 'bear-napper'.

Read the show rules. Bring items the show promoter suggests. Many times showrooms are not well lit. Carry light weight, clamp-on lights and heavy duty extensions cords.

Make a check list - like the pilots do, so you know you've packed everything.

Packing for a show. Have a pouch of business supplies and personal items that always stays packed. Buy small, lightweight show supplies and toiletries. Pack a few items in each plastic zip-lock bag. You can pack small bags in and among your merchandise. Use small plastic bags to wrap jars and bottles that might leak during flight or in a hot car.

Use a nestling/stacking way of packing that will maximize your luggage space.

Buy hard side cases for protection from the baggage-handler apes. Hard sides protect the contents when unprotected luggage carts get drenched with rain.

Check with the airlines before purchasing large trunks or plastic containers. The airlines have luggage size specifications. Measure the inside of the case, and design your props to fit. Use foam-core board to build boxes, it is lightweight. Wrap items in bubble pack or old dry-cleaning bags. Remember paper and wood add extra weight.

Prepare two yearly calendars. One to track shows, and one for your family with the names, dates and phone numbers where you can be reached. Use computer programs to generate calendars. Use marking pens to highlight your show dates. I use green for a show, red for travel days and yellow for packing days. At a glance you can see what to do. You won't miss show!

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