5 Tips for a Positive Attitude at Craft Shows
I’m writing in the middle of Christmas craft fair season. It is November 17th and Christmas is still a month away. This is after the big Fall fair in Rock Creek, BC, Canada, and the small community Christmas craft fairs are starting up. Doing so many craft shows, one after the other, can be a challenge. Not only do you need enough products for each show but also a good attitude at each and every event. Sometimes the positive attitude is harder than the production work.
So whether you are in the middle of Craft show season or looking for help before the season starts, a positive attitude is one of your best assets when it comes to making sales. Let’s look at 5 tips to help you out.
1. The ten penny trick.
There are times when you feel that everything is moving so slowly. There may be few people at the show, or just not stopping at your booth. This is a perfect time to try the ten penny trick.
Put ten pennies into your pocket. When someone, anyone, enters your booth and you have some conversation with them (no matter how short) move a penny from one pocket to an different one. If however, the person you talk to actually buys from you then all pennies go back into the original pocket and you start over again.
This is amazingly simple, yet, I have not yet gone through 10 pennies before I made another sale. This helps to give me a more positive attitude. When it is slow it is hard to realize that you are making sales. You are just not doing it as fast as you did earlier or as fast as you would like. This “trick” also gets you to engage with your customers which is important as well.
2. Focus on customer relations not customer sales
Talking with your customers is one way to build the relationship with them. Some customers make it really hard with one word answers and the like. But persevere. Sales are really based on the relationship that you have with the customer so even if you talk with someone for ten minutes without a sale, you are building a relationship with that person. By focusing on your customers (actual or future) instead of the specific sales, will improve your attitude and create a more welcoming atmosphere in your booth.
There was one craft fair that I did a while ago that was almost 2 hours from my home. This was a community that did not know me except for my selling at their local Craft Fair. The first year our sales were good but not outstanding. However the next few years were really good. So many times people would come into the booth and express their gratitude that I was willing to do their show and come to their town. It takes time to build that relationship. There is something about watching a regular customer make a bee-line to your booth. Whether they buy a little or a lot, it still feels really good. Build relationships.
3. Numbers game – get the numbers going for you
There are two ways that numbers go in your favor. The number of customers that visit your booth? What were your sales at this craft fair in previous years?
How do you get customers in your booth? The easiest way to do this is to create a booth that is open and welcoming to your customers. My booths always had the tables to the back and sides. I stood in front of my displays to help customers and answer questions. By putting the tables at the back and sides of my booth, say 10’ x 12’ the customers are free to walk in and look at my products. They are not stuck in the aisles to be jostled by the people heading to the food counter or exit. It actually gave us a quieter location and it was easier to talk to them. By not having a chair behind a table I was “forced” to be open and available to my customers.
So an open venue will attract people to your booth and more people will mean higher sales. I know that having more people in your booth also improves your attitude. Sometimes they cut through your booth because it is less crowded than the aisles but that doesn’t happen very often. Make your booth as welcoming and comfortable as you can. You can find more ways of improving your booth with “7 Mistakes that Kill Sales at Shows“.
Compare with Previous Shows
The other numbers you need to track are your sales at different venues. Yes it is nice to know your sales for the month of October or November. If you have done four different craft fairs it is useful to know how you did in relation to previous years. Sometimes an area gets a bit of an economic downturn. You can see this if all your craft shows are lower sales than other years. If only one show is down then a different explanation is in order. Sometimes I feel like I haven’t done very well. But when comparing to previous years I have been close or higher than before. It helps keep things in perspective.
Your monthly sales may not give the best indication of how your craft fairs are doing. Tracking them specifically is better. One of our shows moved from November to December depending on the scheduling of the location.
4. You have a unique selling point don’t forget about it
When you sell your products the customer is getting an item that you made. You are the creator and maker of that turning. It might be an efficient production run of bowls, small lidded boxes, or honey dippers. It could also be a one of a kind master piece. All are made by you and not mass machine only production. You as the craftsman are actually one of your best selling points.
Tell stories of how you made the products, found the wood, prepared for Christmas craft shows. If you sell larger bowls, numbering them adds to their exclusivity. Do not under charge for your products. You are worth it and your good customers will be willing to pay it as well. Think on this to improve your attitude when you are selling.
5. Don’t tune your customers out
Staying positive means that you are attentive and willing to interact with your customers. Seriously, setting up a chair behind a table piled high with product is just building a wall between you and your customers. Sitting in that chair so that you are not seen until the person is at the table is sending a strong message that you really don’t want to be there. To complete the wall just read a book. Any book will do but “War and Peace” will be truly effective. If you must read a book make sure the title doesn’t scare people away.
These 5 tips should help you have a positive attitude and more success at your Craft Shows. I will admit that it is a challenge staying connected during long shows. I did sit at my shows “IF” there was no one in the booth. And my chair was out in the open so I was still very visible. I did not read anything at the show. If I had nothing to do, I would re-arrange my product. I will admit to going to neighboring vendors some times, but only the close ones so I could return very quickly if someone was at my booth.
A craft show is a time to make sales. This requires a positive attitude, and for you to show up the entire time the craft show is on. I hope these tips help you. What other things do you do to help increase your positive attitude while participating in craft shows? Leave a comment below and remember to always turn safely!