Think Fast

Tricks Of The Trade

Hot promotional items can quickly generate sales at trade shows that cater to retailers, distributors and manufacturers' sales agents looking for new products. Among the shows Pella attended were the Advertising Specialties Institute (ASI) show in Las Vegas, the Premium and Incentive Show in New York City, The Variety Merchandise Show in Chicago, the California Gift Show in Los Angeles and the Transworld Party Show in Chicago.

These shows are expensive (Pella spent $5,000 to $10,000 per show), but they are all buying shows where the people who attend usually place orders either at the show or soon after. Pella hasn't spent a dime on advertising. He's concentrated his efforts on trade shows, where he generates the greatest return on his marketing dollar.

You can look for upcoming trade shows in potent!als and Wearables Business, or check out trade show directories, available at larger local libraries.

The clock turns to December 31, 1999, only once, and it's already too late for you to introduce any millennium-related products. But promotional opportunities happen all the time if you're quick. Pella got ready to seize opportunity by learning how to file his own trademarks and design patents and by setting up a relationship with a manufacturer. You can make a lot of money with just one good promotional event every year or two, so it's worth the trouble to get ready for the next opportunity that comes your way.

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This article was originally published in the August 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Think Fast.

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