image by somethings hiding in here
Since we are thick in the middle of craft show/festival/fair season, I thought I would share some tips for how you can improve your craft show sales. These tips are based on both my experience as a shopper and as a seller and with more than a few shows under my belt in both capacities, I hope that these will prove helpful to you.
Standing is a much better vantage point for engaging customers. Sitting down has the potential to send the message, “I’m taking a break, don’t disturb me”, and that’s not what you want. Now sitting is okay, if you use a tall chair (like a director’s chair) or a stool and are out in the booth, rather than behind a table. Of course, taking breaks is a necessity, but try to stand as much as possible…you can rest later.
Even if you are grumpy, hungry, disappointed in sales and/or tired, make sure to smile. I’ve walked out of booths before just because the people behind the table looked disinterested or unhappy. No one wants to interact with miserable people, especially for an items that aren’t the necessities of life.
3. Display a credit card sign
Not everyone is going to ask, especially folks who may be new to craft show shopping.
4. You are not a clerk in a department store, you are an artist
Don’t ask, “May I help you?” or something similar. You aren’t selling socks at Kmart, you are selling your wares. Come up with a good greeting that fits your personality. I always used a friendly “Hi!” when I was doing crafts shows. It fit my personality and people seemed to respond well. It set the tone and often led to more conversation.
5. Engage people
So, you greet people when they enter your booth, what’s next? Keep talking. Talk about the weather, the show, your wares, something the shopper has on, something else they purchased, ask where they got that smoothie, etc. Come up with some good conversation starters beforehand that you can use. Selling at craft shows is like dating or meeting a new friend, you are trying to make a good impression. Remember, the longer you talk with someone, and the longer they are in your booth looking at your stuff, the more likely they will buy.
6. Don’t be pushy
Be chatty and try to engage people, but if they give off signals that they don’t want to talk and want to move on, shut-up.
7. No gossiping
Don’t talk about other customers, or other people for that matter in front of customers. It’s rude and tacky. Unless it is something nice, of course.
8. Customers come 1st
Whenever customers enter your booth, stop chatting with your partner/helper, you can chat with them later. You won’t get another chance to sell to me, if I can’t get a word in edge-wise.
9. Share your craft
When you see customers engaging with your goods, tell them a little about the process and/or materials, especially it involves something special or uses materials they might not recognize. For example, if you make polymer clay jewelry, let people know that when they pick up a piece to study it, don’t wait until they ask. Don’t be too pushy though, let it drop if they clearly aren’t interested.
10. Make it easy for shoppers
It shouldn’t be difficult for me to try/sample/imagine buying your products. If you make edibles or consumables, have samples or testers available. Also, have a mirror handy if you sell wearables, and even if it’s in plain sight make to sure to mention it when a customer starts putting one of your necklaces. If possible, have a changing station if you sell clothing.
11. Differing price points
If you sell pricey items, consider adding lower priced items to your offerings just for the show. It will add to your show sales and might lead to some repeat online business later.
12. You are legit, so look like it
Make sure to have a sign for your business, business cards out, a professional looking display, be organized and don’t ask me to write my credit card # on a scrap of paper for you to process later.
13. Be genuine
Be yourself and don’t be all salespersony. People will run screaming from you.
14. Post your prices
Don’t make shoppers ask how much something is. If you are busy they will walk away without asking and it might make them feel like you are sizing them up and they will walk away anyway.
15. Remember, you are selling yourself too
Finally, not only are you selling your crafts, but you are selling yourself. Be professional, knowledgeable, friendly & helpful.
image by Thomas Hawk