Our business was fibre. We had wool hats, angora mitts, silk scarves and turned fibre tools. Handmade and artisan designed and crafted. At a craft market you wore clothes that showed off your goods. Clean jeans or dress pants, of course. How about a hand spun, hand knit, one-of-a-kind sweater? What would be better than being a living moving display of your product? This was my normal appearance in the booth.
We had a craft sale in late November at the local art gallery. It was a beautiful heritage building, an old court house. Our booth was in the main gallery which used to be the court room. It was a gala event with mood music by a local harpist. My wife and daughter looked great in floor length dresses that were suited to the occasion. I had stayed at home doing chores. Just for the fun of it, since my new day job required wearing a suit, I would wear a suit and tie to the craft fair. With a new full-time job we were nice and relaxed about the fair, not worrying about how much money we made etc.
When I arrived our sales had been slow. Wife and daughter were very happy to have me take over the booth. They were both disappointed with our sales so far. The day appeared normal as I watched the booth and made sales. The sales were steady and the customers had no complaints about our prices or the quality of our work. At the end of the day we did better than average for this event. My suit had an impact. The suit and tie must have conveyed confidence and authority to my selling.
I would never have suggested a vendor needed to get all dressed up for a craft show. What did my attire have to do with our products? Are we that market driven in our society? My wife and daughter were not sloppy or inappropriately dressed but they did not have any success in selling at the booth. The difference was my presentation. Appearance matters. It conveys confidence and authority in regards to the product. If I care enough to look good then I must be selling good product. Usually at these events there are some who question our high artisan prices. Not this day. Not a peep or a challenge. I stated the prices and they were accepted by our customers.
What sales tips can we take away about our visual presentation?
Your appearance matters.
How you look affects your customers. If you look sharp then your customers relate to you in a business or professional manner. You will have an air of authority. People relate to you differently based on how you look whether we like it or not. However, we are in control of our appearance so take advantage of the opportunity.
Your appearance reflects on your product.
Your presentation is connected to your product. A baker who makes great cookies has a greater chance of selling when they are clean and neat rather than dirty and sloppy. As artisans we know that our ”dress” does not affect our work but customers make that association. Our appearance is a reflection of how we make our products. The better we look the better our products are perceived.
Your appearance supports the quality of your work
Taking the time to be neat and trimmed as a vendor connects to the care that customers assume you are taking with your product. This is not the same as someone dropping in on you while you are working, then they expect you to look like you’ve been working! Good quality products sell better with a good quality appearance.
Your appearance influences the price you can charge for your work
If you look top quality then your product also command top dollar. If you present as average then your products are average as well. Normally I have to defend the higher prices of our products because they are hand crafted artisan work. When I wore the suit there were no questions about our prices at all. That made the day much easier.
Your appearance gives you confidence
You need to know and sell your product and if you look good it gives you more confidence in relating to your customers. You have taken the time to look good, to be presentable, and ready to meet the public. That preparation prepares you physically and mentally to sell you works with ease.
Now don’t get me wrong. You have to be sincere in who you are and with your product. All the preparation and suits or ties in the world will not make up for bad product. You need to build a solid base with good quality products but adding great appearance will change how your bottom line looks too.